"Franco crosses from Africa. Nazis back Franco. Commies infiltrate the Republicans. Joe and Adolf fight it like a proxy war in a petri dish. Republican International Volunteer Brigades act as sort of a global idiot magnet. Orwell goes and gets disillusioned. Hemingway goes and stays drunk. Nazis bomb the crap out of Guernica. Picasso paints it. Fascists win. Commies lose."...which, you must admit, is short on nuanced detail.
So I'm trying to remedy that lack by reading Comrades And Commissars: The Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War. It's a fascinating book, and it's taking all my efforts to be productive and not just fall back into it. Right now the American volunteers are bogged down on the Jarama front, still trying to elect their officers and form a machine-gunner's union so they can file grievances with high command; their brigade commander, a crazy thug of a Yugoslav colonel, thinks everybody is a coward; and there's a paranoid Frog who's tight with the comintern and wants to hang everybody for Fascist spies, or at least Trotskyism. Oh, and Ernest Hemingway is drunk in Madrid.
What's not to love about a tale like that?