Nicholas Rankin

Murky Waters

Papa Spy: Love, Faith and Betrayal in Wartime Spain


Bloomsbury 416pp £20 order from our bookshop

It is debatable whether the Catholics or the communists in 1930s Britain were quicker to ignore wrongdoing – one lot through religious faith and the other through political ideology. Just as Stalin’s crimes were excused by the Communist Party of Great Britain and their fellow-travellers as mere egg-breaking for the great socialist omelette, so many Roman Catholics in Britain applauded Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia and Franco’s ‘crusade’ in Spain as blessed extensions of Christian civilisation. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,