Review: Durruti in the Spanish Revolution
We love it when people review AK books! This one, written by Richard Alexander, first appeared in Black Flag, the UK’s preeminent anarchist paper. We post it here with permission.
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Durruti in the Spanish Revolution
(trans Chuck Morse)
(afterword by Jose Luis Gutierrez Molina).
AK Press, Edinburgh, Scotland and Oakland CA, USA.
Pbk. Xiv, 795pp. Illus, maps, notes, index.
£20.00 / $29.95
First up, this is one big book, albeit slightly misleading in its title, as the section detailing Durruti’s involvement in the Revolution proper (from July 1936) takes up less than half the book—although one could equally argue that he spent his entire adult life fighting for the revolution in Spain (and elsewhere.)
The story of the various editions of this book is covered in detail in the book, but in summary it is based on the second Spanish edition of 1996. In it Paz, not an academic but both a self-taught historian and participant in some of the struggles described in the book, takes a straightforward chronological approach to Durruti’s life, assembling, as he goes, all the available relevant documentation and personal testimonies, into a single coherent narrative. As Molina’ s afterword explains, the book is not a work of hagiography, the desire is not to make Durruti into a superman or saint, rather his life is taken as exemplary of a whole generation (or two) of Spanish anarchists who lived their lives in the service of an ideal they felt was both realizable and realistic, and one which they were determined to make happen if the opportunity arose.
The first section of the book details Durruti’s early life, the first 35 years or so, starting with his family background in Leon, his involvement in the industrial struggles during the First World War which led to his first period of exile in France and his conscious adoption of anarchism. The period after the war saw Durruti in the thick of the struggle of the Spanish working class and in particular the CNT, fighting both intransigent employers and a succession of repressive governments as the struggle to deal with the chronic problems caused by recession, structural inadequacy, inequitable land-ownership, together with the struggles between the various political cliques, the monarchy, the military and the Catholic church, meant the class struggle was carried on at an intensity much greater than most of Europe. And equally the class struggle had to be equally intense to stop the working class being made the victims of economic mismanagement, political infighting, colonialist and economic deprivation, and social misery.
On the streets, this struggle took many forms besides the usual strikes and lock-outs, demonstrations, and so forth. In particular, the employers (aided and abetted by the police and the Church) used gangs of gunmen to shoot down union militants. In return, the CNT organized defense squads. And the right planned its seizure of power which saw Primo de Riviera impose his dictatorship in 1923. The socialists and their union, the UGT, decided to sit this one out. The CNT would not have the luxury and Durruti quickly made his way to France (again) where he was involved in more revolutionary activity. November 1924 saw an unsuccessful uprising against the dictatorship in Spain and the following month Durruti and Francisco Ascaso were on the move again, this time to Latin America, via New York and Cuba.
In Cuba they contacted local anarchists, became port workers, and were soon in the thick of things again. A move to the interior saw them working as cane-cutters, and again they were active organizing workers and causing trouble. Rather too much trouble as they were wanted for the murder of their sadistic employer and had to to make their excuses and hopped on a boat to Mexico (not that it was originally intending to go to Mexico, but Durruti could be very persuasive when necessary). In spring 1925, they were being as enterprising as ever, obtaining much needed financing for various local anarchist projects, including a Rationalist School. However, due to the unconventional methods used to obtain the cash, the pair were soon on the move again, together with Gregorio Jover and Alejandro Ascaso, arriving in Chile in June 1925. One bank robbery later and the group were off to Buenos Aires and later in the year Durruti had secured work as a port worker and was in touch with the local Argentinean anarchists.
Following several bank and other robberies, which were blamed on a group of Spanish revolutionaries, Durruti and the others left Argentina and sailed for France in February 1926. Having arrived in the country Durruti and 200 other Spaniards were rounded up on suspicion of being involved in a plot to kill the beloved King of Spain Alfonso XIII in July 1926, who happened to be making a visit to Paris at the time. Durruti would not be going anywhere fast for a while as not only were the French holding him, but he was wanted by the Spanish and Argentine authorities as well. After a year and much agitation on his behalf, Durruti, Fransisco Ascaso, and Gregorio Jover were finally released in July 1927. Ready to recommence the struggle.
But the authorities were soon on the tail again, this time imprisoning Durruti and Ascaso in Lyon for having false papers. This time they weren’t released until October 1928, without papers and with nowhere to go. Using their contacts, they made their way to Berlin and thence to Belgium where they stayed for while, as always at the center of intrigue and rebellion, working with Catalanist subversives in their failed January 1929 plot against Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship. However, within a year de Rivera had outstayed his welcome even amongst the ruling class in Spain and he fled into exile in France. The new government, still a dictatorship, but under General Berenguer instead, attempted a liberalization of the law, which soon had unintended consequences.
The CNT took the opportunity to re-emerge from underground, where the repression of the previous incumbent had driven them, and launched a weekly newspaper and held a national meeting with the sole aim of reorganizing the union, which proved to be a success. Indeed so much so that it re-awakened the dread of the ruling class for a resurgent proletariat, and before 1930 was out the government had instituted a crack-down on the CNT and FAI. This did nothing to calm matters as a strike in Madrid saw Barcelona come in out in solidarity in November 1930, which resulted in further repression, but it also saw the CNT contacted by Republican “revolutionaries” to see whether they would support the overthrow of the dictatorship. The political and military revolt failed and the CNT was forced underground again. Yet by April 1931 Spain had become a Republic and the door was open to Durruti and the other exiles to resume their activities in Spain.
And one of the first things that Durruti noticed was that all the conspiring with Republicans had compromised the anarchists’ traditional opposition to all forms of party politics. He was not impressed, and neither were many members of the FAI. There was a general recognition that a successful social democracy would sap the revolutionary potential of the current crisis, itself the product of the intrinsic socio-economic contradictions of Spain, exacerbated by the reactionary policies of the Catholic church. Playing political games in Madrid would do nothing to solve the problems caused by the monopolistic control of the land in large areas of the country by a few, often absent landowners, who saw little need to modernize agricultural production and were certainly not interested in any redistribution of the land or popular control of it. The Republican take-over had had some benefits though, with some prisoners being released, but many CNT and FAI militants were still behind bars. It has also allowed the formation of a Catalan regional government but that threatened to divide the CNT. That the new governments were no friends to the CNT was soon seen in attacks on the May 1st rally in Barcelona, but that didn’t stop some CNT people wanting to do deals with the Catalan government. Indeed, certain elements in the CNT were pushing for some form of accommodation with the new regimes to allow the union to operate legally and without hindrance—oblivious to the fact that such a policy would break down as soon as the CNT proved itself capable of organizing sustained resistance to any government—or if it kept its activities purely legal, then the anarcho-syndicalism at the heart of the union would be destroyed by compromise and co-option. Durruti and other FAIstas clearly saw this danger and organized within the CNT to oppose the reformists.
The class struggle continued anyway, and early 1932 saw an attempt to institute libertarian communism by the workers in Alto Llobregat coal fields and surrounding villages. Which was promptly put down by the authorities, and leading FAI militants, including Durruti were promptly rounded up and deported with many ending up in Spanish Guinea (in Equatorial Africa) or, in Durruti’s case to the Canaries, but this did nothing to quell social and economic unrest or the splits in the CNT which led to the formation of a few small syndicalist unions which declared themselves free of the “tyranny of the FAI” !
On release Durruti and other FAIstas were soon deep in conspiracy mode, planning insurrection, for January 1933, with Barcelona the designated epicenter, with significant uprisings in Levante and Andalusia. However, it failed to catch alight and was soon put down, with great brutality in places such as Casas Viejas. The failure of the uprising not only brought down repression on the participants, it deepened the splits in the CNT between the revolutionaries and the reformists, with Durruti eventually being arrested in Sevilla in April 1933, staying incarcerated until October that year. Meanwhile the Spanish government was itself in a continual state of crisis and fell at the same time.
The ensuing elections proved a disaster for the left (although in view of their actions the CNT and FAI had little sympathy for them) whilst the CNT advocated social revolution as being the only valid response to the threat of fascism, and the resulting abstentionsim can be clearly seen in the rated for non-voting in places where the CNT was strong. With the election of a right-wing government, the only logical response was to organize a general strike and revolutionary uprising against the new government, with Durruti playing a prominent part in the new Revolutionary Committee based in Zaragoza. Early December saw the plans put into action, with early successes in places such as Aragon, Valencia, and Leon. But it failed to become generalized and the government forces were able to break the strike and cracked down heavily on the CNT and the FAI, with the CNT being outlawed, union halls closed, and papers banned. Durruti, like many prominent participants was jailed, and transferred to Burgos to reduce the likelihood of local revolutionaries freeing him. Meanwhile, events had pushed the UGT and the Socialist party further to the left and there was talk of a workers alliance, which was viewed favorably by CNT activists in areas where they were weaker than the UGT (Madrid and Asturias) but less favorably where the CNT was much stronger. Another change in the make-up of the national government and continuing pressure from both rural and urban workers saw the eventual release of the insurrectionaries in April 1934.
Durruti had arrived in Barcelona by May 1934 where he was reunited with his family, to the point of undertaking child care for his daughter Mimi, whilst his partner Emilienne Morin was out earning money for them all. The class struggle continued unabated throughout this period with strikes and boycotts amongst both urban and rural workers, even though the CNT remained a banned organization. There was, however, in certain parts of Spain, a move towards a more explicit alliance with elements in the UGT (which however was seen by many as an attempt to bring the anarchists under the wing of the Socialist party—something the more rigorous anarchists always opposed.) At the same time, the insignificant Spanish Communist Party (acting under orders from Moscow, in-line with the new “Popular Front” policy) merged itself into the Socialist Party.
Political intrigues also continued both in Madrid and Catalonia, with an attempted uprising by the Socialists and the Catalanists against a right-wing government in October 1934—immediately preceded by the arrest and detention of numerous CNT and FAI militants including Durruti, even though the CNT had not participated in the planning of the uprising. Indeed, the Catalan authorities did everything they could to prevent the CNT from generalizing the revolt—but ended up handing the streets over the right and the militants to the military. Elsewhere, primarily in the Asturias, a region where the UGT was the dominant force, the uprising was initially successful, but was put down with great ferocity within two weeks. Durruti remained in prison until April 1935.
On his release, he was once more actively engaged, as it was apparent to just about everyone that the endemic and chronic problems of Spain could not be settled by playing Parliamentary games. The organized section of the Spanish working class—despite being hampered by legal repression—was still a potent force, whilst the military and right-wing plotters also remained well-organized and equally determined. Sooner or later, the matter of Spain would have to be decided one way or another—social revolution or fascism. Durruti and his affinity group Los Nosostros were at the heart of debates within the CNT and FAI as to how best to organize the workers for the forthcoming battle. However, his freedom lasted only a couple of months, by June 1935 he had been imprisoned again.
Whilst he, and many other CNT and FAI militants languished in prison, the politicians continued with their plans and intrigues. The Communists cemented their place inside the Socialist Party, and started winning the left of the socialists towards more CP oriented policies; whilst amongst the non-Stalinist marxists there was a coming together to form the POUM. The right too was cementing alliances, with the figures of Hitler and Mussolini beginning to loom on the horizon, their support being vital to the success of any right-wing take-over of the country. Even amongst the Syndicalists there were moves to re-unite those unions that had split from the CNT. War clouds were gathering and being isolated was the surest way to be defeated. Yet solidarity had to be on the basis of firm and meaningful proposals and none of the political parties would or could offer the working class anything that would significantly improve their situation, whilst a victory for the right would mean even greater repression. Being underground was also taking its toll on the CNT both in terms of being able to organize but also because the CNT could only function properly when the members could meet openly and regularly and have free access to ideas and information, and when mandated delegates to regional and national committees could be directly told what the members wanted and removed (if necessary) if they stepped outside that mandate. Consequently the “leadership” had a tendency to develop ideas of its own and to conduct discussions with political forces outside the remit of the CNT’s actual policy and objectives. And primary amongst their ideas was that to get to the stage of being “legal” again, to get their militants out of jail and being able to conduct their business correctly they would have to make some sort of deal with the left-wing politicians (who had in the previous years been more than happy to jail, deport, and persecute them) which would result in the left-wing parties getting parliamentary power.
The matter became acute in February 1936 with the downfall of yet another government and the holding of a General Election. The CNT held a meeting to discuss their position on the election (although because of the unions’ illegal status none of the people attending could be properly mandated to make any particular decision) and the outcome was a re-iteration of the standard anarchist line on abstention and a commitment to make the workers understand that electing a left-wing government wasn’t going to solve their problems and that a right-wing / military coup could be expected soon after. (Indeed General Franco tried to initiate a coup before the left could form a government, but it failed to materialize—he was punished by being made the Military Commander of the Canary Islands!) The voting shows that abstention took second place to expediency in most workers’ minds, with the left getting a very narrow majority of the votes cast and a sufficient Parliamentary majority to govern, provided the coalition of forces held together. The new government did amnesty many of the prisoners in February 1936, although some prisons had already been opened by popular demand immediately prior to this, whilst other CNT members were still detained behind bars as their offenses were deemed to be social and criminal and not political.
As predicted, the election solved nothing, as during the next six months the class struggle intensified, with land seizures by peasants, church burnings, over 200 partial and over 100 general strikes, bombings, and shootings. The government tried to repress the direct action of the workers whilst using the threat from the right to hang onto power. Everywhere people were organizing for the final showdown, with approximately 1.5 million workers organized in both the CNT and UGT (out of a total of 8 million workers) and with right-wing organizations with over half a million in them (including priests, former soldiers, and right-wing and fascist activists.) It is important to note that membership of a union did not necessarily mean whole-heartedly agreeing with the politics of the organization. With no unemployment benefit a a union card meant access to the mutual aid of one’s fellow workers. Equally in well-unionized areas employers would approach the unions when they were hiring people , so possession of a union card could mean the difference between having a job and not. And it made sense to join the biggest union locally or in your particular trade. This may well explain why both the CNT and UGT had areas where they were dominant—success bred success. Thus a union card was, for many workers, a practical necessity, rather than a statement of allegiance to a particular ideology.
The only benefit of the left’s election win was that it gave the CNT a much-needed opportunity to emerge into the open and re-organize itself, resume publication of its national papers and so forth, and not least hold its Fourth National Congress in Zaragoza on May 1st 1936. The pressing issues of the day were obvious to all: to re-admit the errant syndicalists, provided they respected national decisions and to invite the UGT to join with the CNT in an alliance to overthrow capitalism and institute a society based on workers’ democracy (an invitation that fell on deaf ears). The CNT also discussed what form a libertarian communist society would take—with syndicalists arguing that the CNT was the model, whilst anarchists argued that an organization designed for fighting the class struggle was ill-equipped to take on the role. They wouldn’t have long to wait before testing their ideas in practice as the long-expected (except by the Socialist government ministers) military and right-wing coup was eventually launched in July 1936.
Durruti and the rest of Los Nosotros group had prepared themselves for the coup, as had the CNT in Barcelona and surrounding area. (After much disagreement the CNT had adopted Garcia Oliver’s proposals to immediately set up workers militias in the event of a military uprising, something Durruti had initially opposed arguing for a guerrilla approach, arguing that the creation of militias would inevitably end up creating an army run on traditional lines, which would be contradiction with anarchist principles. The majority in the CNT had, however, been persuaded that only militias stood any chance of defeating the uprising militarily.)
Meanwhile the Catalan government had done little, except refuse to arm the workers. If the coup was to be defeated it would have to be done by the CNT on the ground with only the bare minimum of arms and support from loyalist military and police. Yet after two day’s hard fighting, not only had the coup been defeated in Barcelona, but the CNT and other militants had secured the army barracks and obtained much needed weaponry, but not without much loss of life. In much of Catalonia, the story was much the same, but elsewhere in Spain the coup had been successful, in others it was barely contained. In Madrid, the CNT was weaker and had great difficulty getting hold of the necessary weapons, with the Republican government trying to reassure the people that the coup was under control and therefore arming them was not necessary—at least arming the CNT was not necessary. A general strike was organized in Zaragoza, but disastrously the CNT workers there allowed themselves to be rounded-up and the military took control.
However, with the defeat of the military in Barcelona by the CNT, the way was open for the revolution to break out. The workers took control of their work places, transport and other services were collectivized and power seemed to be in the hands of the workers, not the politicians. It was very soon apparent that if the military coup was to be defeated it would have to be done by the workers themselves—but even with the arms and supplies taken from the barracks in Barcelona they were woefully under-equipped for a prolonged struggle. Durruti and others therefore organized several columns of workers militias to try and take Zaragoza, whilst, at the same time, hoping to ignite the flames of social revolution as they went. The columns managed to get within about 20 miles of Zaragoza before being brought to a halt by the better equipped military forces and, despite much heroism, they were unable to break through to the city.
Durruti was adamant that the column, which bore his name was organized on anarchist lines, as for him, the revolution had to be embodied by the forces fighting for it, a hierarchical force obeying military discipline would never make an anarchist revolution. The shortage of weapons in the column meant that many volunteers were active in the newly organized collectives that had sprung up in its wake in Aragon. However, once the initial reserves of ammunition had been exhausted the column was unable to undertake further large-scale offensive action much to its and Durruti’s frustration. Meanwhile in Barcelona itself, the CNT’s decision to co-operate with the other anti-fascist forces was beginning to bear unwelcome fruit. They were not in control of policy making, the continuation of the Generalitat (the Catalonian government) and their collaboration with it meant that whatever they did, in some way legitimized it and strengthened it, even to the point where workers control of production and distribution ran the risk of creating a form of state socialism, even if it was with anarchists in control. A regional CNT meeting in early August discussed the matter, but on balance decided it was better to continue the collaboration in the name of anti-fascist unity rather than risk civil war within a civil war, one that might be in the CNT’s favor in Catalonia, but much less so in the rest of Spain. There was also the international dimension to consider—now that Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy were pouring men and materiel into the rebel held areas and taking an active role in the fighting, it seemed imperative not to jeopardize any chance of aid from friendly governments, in particular France where it was hoped the Popular Front government would, at least, keep up the supply of war materiel (France having been the main supplier of war material to Spain prior to 1936.)—although it was highly unlikely that any government would knowingly supply weapons to revolutionaries. Furthermore, although Catalonia was well-equipped with workshops it lacked certain basic raw materials to enable it to be self-sufficient in war fighting ability, hence the ambitious but abandoned plan to capture the Bank of Spain’s gold reserves and use the gold to buy weapons.
However the gold eventually ended up in Stalin’s grubby blood-stained hands, but at least a flow of arms into the Republican areas was resumed. Inevitably, the arms came at a political as well as financial price. The previously insignificant Communist Party was rewarded with posts in the Madrid government and socialist and communist militias were prioritized for the supply of arms. Elsewhere in Spain, by late September 1936, it was obvious that the military uprising and associated attack on workers organizations had established itself in about half of Spain. The militias had managed to prevent a complete take-over, but equally had failed to roll it back from areas it had captured. The Basque region had fallen and with it the Bilbao armaments factories, and the Asturias were now isolated from the rest of Republican Spain. Even Durruti’s home of Leon was under the control of the military who could also look forward to uninterrupted support coming over the border from Portugal. Even Madrid itself was vulnerable to a well-organized military assault if Franco had wanted to do capture it.
On the Aragon front at least the revolution proceeded apace—at least in areas not subject to the depredations of the marxist militias who not only stole from the villages but also attempted to dissolve the organs of self-government and control the villages had established, much to the disgust to those in the CNT columns. To consolidate their position, the Aragon Defense Council and the Aragon Federation of Collectives were established in early October 1936. Mid-October saw the Durruti column in action holding off a nationalist advance in its area, on the north bank of the Ebro facing Zaragoza. Only to be immediately faced with a typical piece of back-stabbing from the central government when it, at the urging of the Soviets, issued a militarization decree, which would have completely changed the status and forms of organization of the CNT and other militias. Which was swiftly followed by the nationalization of the war industries and agriculture which would take them from the worker’s committees that had been running them. However, faced with the possibility of exclusion from all effective decision-making and access to arms, the CNT then took the final step of over-turning its own anarchist basis by joining, at the beginning of November, the National Government. A government whose first major decision was to abandon its own capital Madrid, now coming under pressure from the forces of the right.
In the streets, however, the ordinary people of Madrid, already alarmed by the terror that was being unleashed by the rebel forces, who were threatening to kill two million reds between Madrid and Barcelona, were constructing barricades. Soon, battle was joined in earnest, with nationalist forces breaking into the city. In response, militia units from Barcelona and the Aragon front were rushed to the city to help in the defense. Among those forces was a force made up from, amongst others, elements of the Durruti Column, and perhaps even more importantly, Durruti himself, which arrived on November 14th. Almost immediately, and before they had to time to fully prepare themselves, they were thrown into the battle raging around Madrid’s University City. Losses on both sides were terrible but they managed to stabilize the front and prevent the rebels from breaking through.
November 19th saw a slight lull in the fighting and Durruti visited the front-line to inspect his forces’ positions and check on the state of the column’s fighters—all greatly fatigued and desperate need of relief. He got out of his staff car to speak to some militiamen and was shot before he could resume his seat in the car. He was rushed to hospital, but the doctors thought this injury too severe for any chance of surviving any operation they could have attempted to remove the bullet from his chest and patch up the massive internal damage. He died early the next day. The news was a terrible blow to the CNT militias and those working in factories and the fields. His body was returned to Barcelona where a massive funeral was organized (and an investigation begun as to how he had died).
Given the political and military situation in Madrid at this time, it is understandable that there has been so much speculation as to how Durruti died, who fired the fatal shot. Matters are not helped by the differences in the contemporary accounts and subsequent “revelations.” The book assesses all the attempts to make sense of his death and the “conspiracy theories” surrounding it. There was much disinformation circulated at the time and ever since the competing accounts have been fueled as much by ideology as evidence. Indeed, Paz is unable to get to the bottom of the mystery and thinks it unlikely it ever will be solved. So whether Durruti was shot by a fascist sniper, a communist shot him in the back, an anarchist angry at the CNT-FAI’s betrayal of anarchist principles killed him or, as may have been the case, he shot himself by accident, we shall never know.
The afterword by Jose Molina brings the reader up to date with various stories that have surfaced since the first edition of the book was published, but it is to be regretted that (for whatever reasons) the bibliography that it mentions as being in the second Spanish edition, has been omitted in the English edition. Fortunately the notes are fairly comprehensive—although I spotted that the numbering of the notes in the text of the afterword follows on from the previous chapter whilst the notes themselves are numbered in a new sequence.
The text is amply complemented by the many well-chosen photographs, and the illustrations also include reproductions of various pages from anarchist and other publications. The map of Madrid is vital for following the debate about how Durruti died and the other maps help with understanding the detail of the fighting (but you’ll need a proper map of Spain to find all of the places mentioned). One major disappointment is the index. Although we are given three indices—personal names, places, and organizations—they only tell you which pages the words indexed appear on. So we get a column of numbers for Durruti and the CNT but no further detail. Also missing are periodicals—so if you want to know what pages Solidaridad Obrera appears on, you’ll have to make your own index.
Not being a Spanish speaker (or reader) and not having the original text I can’t comment on the quality of the translation, but I can say that overall the text reads extremely well. Chuck Morse has done an excellent job in making this book readable—it needs to be at nearly 800 pages long!—with the only minor gremlins appearing to be those relating military terminology. The bullet that killed Durruti is described as “9 caliber long” when caliber is a measure of the diameter of a bullet or shell; artillery is a couple of times said to be bombing a position—when shelling is the usual term employed and most bizarrely the nationalist attack on Madrid is said to have been made with the aid of tri-motor fighters (nobody ever built a fighter plane with three engines—I presume “bomber” is meant (3 engine bombers were built by both Germany and Italy in this period)) and battleships. A glance at the map of Spain will show that if there’s one place you won’t find a battleship, it’s in Madrid. (I’m not sure what is intended in the context.)
Physically the book, even though it is an 800 page paperback, has withstood my reading it without any problems and has a good feel to it. Overall, one has to congratulate the author, translator, AK Press, and everyone else associated with the production of this book with producing a book worthy of the subject matter. Paz’s treatment of the events in Durruti’s life is aimed at explaining the reasons for them, rather than attempting much by way of critique. He is, however, critical of the CNT “leadership” especially during the civil war when basic principles were thrown overboard to expedite fighting. However, the book also goes a long way to explaining the reasons for the positions (governmental and otherwise) taken by leading members of the FAI and the CNT and will prove invaluable for anyone wanting a detailed explanation of the run up to the civil war and the revolution. Wisely, Paz finishes the book with Durruti’s funeral with only a brief section on what happened after Durruti died. Whether the revolution died with Durruti, is another matter. One could equally argue that had he lived he would have had to have compromised as much as fellow FAIstas. Fortunately, Paz doesn’t get bogged down in such a discussion, leaving that for readers to discuss amongst themselves.
I can’t imagine anyone now undertaking the necessary research to write a completely new biography of Durruti, or that there remains much more to discover about him. Therefore I can say without much fear of contradiction that this will be the definitive biography of Durruti, and as such it is something I can totally recommend.