This is a book which illustrates better than any that I know the difficulty of getting at the facts in days of dictatorships and of war. For propaganda and press censorships are inseparable from both, and the strictness of the censorship on the insurgent side in Spain was revealed a year ago when the correspondent of two well-known British Conservative newspapers telegraphed that he was leaving the insurgent headquarters on account of the intolerable limitations that were being imposed on his work. Other correspondents of the "Right" have since experienced similar difficulties.
Mr. Koestler in his opening chapter makes clear the dangers to which French correspondents who had reported the massacre at Badajoz had been exposed and the recantations which they had been driven to make. His own hands happily were more free. As representative of a well-known newspaper of the "Left" -- only a fortunate chance had enabled him to enter General Franco's territory, for journalists of the "Right" alone were being admitted. An equally unfortunate chance led to an early encounter with a former German colleague of the Ullstein Press in which he had held important posts before the advent of the Nazi régime in Germany. The encounter could not be agreeable to the insurgent authorities, and Mr. Koestler was no doubt well advised to end his visit to Seville.
But though the visit was a brief one the author, on account of the political orientation of his newspaper, could write freely without fear of prejudicing its chances of further permits. This fact explains the frankness of . . .