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“His tales are unfailingly readable”—Bookforum on the new edition of Ronald Fraser's In Hiding

Clara Heyworth14 September 2010

First published in 1972, Ronald Fraser's In Hiding: The Life of Manuel Cortés was reviewed at length that same year by Arthur Miller in the New York Times. Miller fell in love with the book:

As it unfolds, modestly, factually and without pretension, one finds oneself discovering what the Spanish Civil War was really about ...

Ronald Fraser makes no overt claim to having created a novel, but it reads like one ... In the mountain of books about the war there cannot be another so brief and yet so complete, so unguarded and yet so subtle, so movingly human as this.

Verso's new edition of this remarkable book—by one of our greatest oral historians—has a new introduction from the author as well as a new cover featuring a previously unpublished photograph of Cortés.

And nearly forty years after it first appeared, In Hiding is capturing the minds of reviewers all over again: in the Sept/Oct/Nov issue of Bookforum Jonathan Blitzer declares the book even more valuable than ever and praises Fraser's "unfailingly readable" tales:

At age twenty-seven, in 1957, Ronald Fraser moved to a tiny Spanish pueblo twenty miles west of Malaga to write a novel he called A Hollow Man—a self deprecation meant to echo Bellow's Dangling Man, which he admired. The novel never came to fruition, but his residency in the town of Mijas would laster provide the background and contacts for the first of his many books about contemporary Spanish history. Manuel Cortés, who was Mijas's mayor before the war, came out of hiding in 1969 under the amnesty granted to anyone with past "leftist," or Republican, affiliations. Fraser, who was then back in England, read about Cortés in a news report and returned to Mijas to meet him, as well as his wife and daughter, who'd kept him from being discovered [for thirty] years.

Visit Bookforum to read the review in full.

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