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Synopsis

The destruction of a town, and the creation of a masterpiece--On April 26, 1937, in the late afternoon of a busy market day in the Basque town of Gernika in northern Spain, the German Luftwaffe began the relentless bombing and machine-gunning of buildings and villagers at the request of General Francisco Franco and his rebel forces. Three-and-a-half hours later, the village lay in ruins, its population decimated. This act of terror and unspeakable cruelty--the first intentional, large-scale attack against a nonmilitary target in modern warfare--outraged the world and one man in particular, Pablo Picasso. The renowned artist, an expatriate living in Paris, reacted immediately to the devastation in his homeland by creating the canvas that would become widely considered one of the greatest artworks of the twentieth century--Guernica. Weaving themes of conflict and redemption, of the horrors of war and of the power of art to transfigure tragedy, Russell Martin follows this monumental work from its fevered creation through its journey across decades and continents--from Europe to America and, finally and triumphantly, to democratic Spain. Full of historical sweep and deeply moving drama, Picassos War delivers an unforgettable portrait of a painting, the dramatic events that led to its creation, and its ongoing power today.

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