While learning numbers defeats me – I think it’s because I know I can use fingers, hands and paper and I find dice (dithi, thinko and so on) amusing – I have been reading this book.

Jason Webster.

It’s a readable one that intersperses history with the present and helped me understand a little more of the war in Spain. Most of my previous reading had been Orwell and Hemingway, so it was good to find a more comprehensive, if personal, history. My epiphaneous moment was when I understood why Real Madrid and Barcelona football fans are so passionate. It also made me keener to view Picasso’s Guernica (at the Reina Sofia, quite near the Prado and at Antocha metro station I gather).

I liked this quote and thought it worth repeating:

” ‘There is no such thing as history,’ Raimundo had said to Javier. ‘Only memories and interpretations. And they themselves are fluid. The past, your past, belongs to you: you can make of it what you want.’…..There was no single version of events, either past or present – simply materials with which we could choose to shape ourselves.” (p. 271).


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