Dialogue with Death

Dialogue with Death

Dialogue with Death

Dialogue with Death


None of the characters in this book is fictitious; most of them are dead by now.

To die--even in the service of an impersonal cause--is always a personal and intimate affair. Thus it was inevitable that these pages, written for the most part in the actual expectancy and fear of death, should bear a private character. There are, in the author's opinion, two reasons which justify their publication.

In the first place, the things which go on inside a condemned man's head have a certain psychological interest. Professional writers have rarely had an opportunity of studying these processes in the first person singular. I have tried to present them as frankly and concisely as I could. The main difficulty was the temptation to cut a good figure; I hope that the reader will agree that I have succeeded in overcoming this.

In the second place, I believe that wars, in particular civil wars, consist of only ten per cent action and of ninety per cent passive suffering. Thus this account of the hermetically sealed Andalusian mortuaries may perhaps bring closer to the reader the nature of Civil War than descriptions of battles.

I dedicate it to my friend Nicolás, an obscure little soldier of the Spanish Republic, who on April 14th, 1937, on the sixth birthday of that Republic, was shot dead in the prison of Seville.

A. K.

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