27 NOVEMBER 1936, Page 34

SPANISH FRONT By Carlos Prieto Seilor Prieto has tried to

compress into 80 pages the history of Spain from the ice age to the siege of Madrid ; Spanish Front (Nelson, 2s. Gd.) would not be necessary but for the present war and. the appalling ignorance of Spain in other countries. In these cir- cumstances it may be useful to the man in the street and to those journalists and leader writers who lately have tried so hard .to make bricks without straw. Four chapters are given to the history of Spain up to the fall of the Monarchy in 1931, one to a brief comment on the Spanish character, one to the foundation of the Republic, one to the condition of the peasantry, and four to the course of events in 1934:-36. Setior Prieto emphasises, rightly, the economic position of the Church and aristocracy and the appalling poverty of the masses ; since, as he says, the present crisis is essentially an economic struggle, in its nakedest form, he might perhaps have given a greater proportion of even so short a book to economic problems. He does not conceal his sympathy with the Popular Front, but presents his facts for the most part without dis- tortion. His book is of the moment and elementary, but may nevertheless be recommended to those anxious to learn the essential facts about Spain.