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This book charts the career of Spain's most colourfully revolutionary. Hailing from true working class stock in the Basque region, Dolores Ibarruri, known to the world as La Pasionaria, and immortalized by her war-cry "They shall not pass" fiercely espoused the Communist cause even as a very young woman. Robert Low shows how, through her bravery and unswerving commitment to the plight of the oppressed, La Pasionaria became the darling of the Spanish Communist party and a symbol around which the Left rallied as the shadow of civil war loomed. Heady optimism gave way to bitter disappointment as Franco's fascist forces gained the uppper hand and eventually triumphed. Prefering exile to the firing squad, La Pasionaria spent the next 30 years in exile in the Soviet Union where she blindly lapped the Stalinist dogma that was fed her and gradually lost all touch with the political reality in her native land. On her return home to Spain in 1977 she was both hailed as a national heroine and reviled as an enemy of the people. Offering many insights into her personal as well as public life, Robert Low paints a picture of a woman whose idealism was exploited and manipulated and of a country exhausted by half a century of turmoil and oppression.
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