• Hell and Good Company

  • The Spanish Civil War and the World It Made
  • By: Richard Rhodes
  • Narrated by: Christian Coulson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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Hell and Good Company  By  cover art

Hell and Good Company

By: Richard Rhodes
Narrated by: Christian Coulson
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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, the remarkable story of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of the reporters, writers, artists, doctors, and nurses who witnessed it.

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) inspired and haunted an extraordinary number of exceptional artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, and John Dos Passos. The idealism of the cause--defending democracy from fascism at a time when Europe was darkening toward another world war--and the brutality of the conflict drew from them some of their best work: Guernica, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Homage to Catalonia, The Spanish Earth.

The war spurred breakthroughs in military and medical technology as well. New aircraft, new weapons, new tactics and strategy all emerged in the intense Spanish conflict. Indiscriminate destruction raining from the sky became a dreaded reality for the first time. Progress also arose from the horror: The doctors and nurses who volunteered to serve with the Spanish defenders devised major advances in battlefield surgery and front-line blood transfusion. In those ways, and in many others, the Spanish Civil War served as a test bed for World War II and for the entire twentieth century.

From the life of John James Audubon to the invention of the atomic bomb, listeners have long relied on Richard Rhodes to explain, distill, and dramatize crucial moments in history. Now he takes us onto battlefields and into bomb shelters, into the studios of artists, into the crowded wards of war hospitals, and into the hearts and minds of a rich cast of characters to show how the ideological, aesthetic, and technological developments that emerged in Spain changed the world forever.

©2015 Richard Rhodes (P)2015 Simon and Schuster
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Hell and Good Company

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Awkward approach to a civil war

What was most disappointing about Richard Rhodes’s story?

I found shocking how Spaniards are describe as mere passive figures in this story. No one can deny the huge influence of external actors in the Spanish conflict, but in the end it was a civil war. This fact doesn't come across at all in this book.

What three words best describe Christian Coulson’s performance?

I wonder why the producer didn't choose a reader fluent in Spanish, since the book is full of names and expressions in this language. Christian Coulson is not even able to mispronounce Spanish words consistently throughout his reading.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spanish Civil War. ...texture and context

A book about the texture and context of the war, not events. Excellent and gap-filling

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating history lesson

Enjoyed the story, performance and learned much about a period that I knew very little about before selecting this title. Recommended by a friend and five star worthy!

1 person found this helpful

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Not really about the spainish civil war at all.

This is a story about artists and nurses who happened to go to Spain. Hardly about why and how the war was fought. Very disappointing

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For all to read

The Spanish civil war, so easily forgotten by most, still has a profound impact on Spain and many Spaniards many of those not even realizing that.

Franco’s successors are still around and in may unexpected and influential roles, political parties cherishing the memories of the Caudillo and his wat still het voted on by many. Some pretend to be different and not related but in their acts and plans the heresy is clearly there. Still no opening books and allow memories to be whipped out is often the goal of right wing Spain. Caught in 1930s wording and sometimes propaganda vocabulary it will take even more time for wounds to finally heal.

A must read for many

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Great History

Readers of history will find themselves absorbed in this deeply researched and insightful addition on a tremendouly important conflict leading up to WWII. Highly recommended for history buffs of the mid-twentieth century.

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The Spanish Civil War live on it's feet

What made the experience of listening to Hell and Good Company the most enjoyable?

The writer's courage and enthusiasm for bringing us a different slice of this important civil war

What was one of the most memorable moments of Hell and Good Company?

The writer's ability to create the feeling of adventure and comraderie...and inexperience of the American idealists who fought in Spain against facism...

What about Christian Coulson’s performance did you like?

Consistent energy and voice who handles the Spanish accents quite well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I still find reading about this intense civil war to be paintful and exciting to a degree that I appreciated taking R & R.

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Really good book ...

Rhodes does a great job of mixing his narrative with the memories and recollections of the actual protagonists.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting but not compelling

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. It was a so what book for me.

What was most disappointing about Richard Rhodes’s story?

I didn't feel that I learned anything.

What didn’t you like about Christian Coulson’s performance?

Maybe the book was underwhelming because listening to an Englishman pronounce Spanish words is like a fingernail across a blackboard. The producer could have at least found a reader fluent in Spanish for the audio.

Do you think Hell and Good Company needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No comment

Any additional comments?

None