Hywel Davies’ Fleeing Franco is a study of Spanish refugee children who were sheltered in Wales during the Spanish Civil War. Davies examines how the cultural and geographic similarities between the Welsh and Basque people led to a connection that resulted in the Welsh providing more effort toward supporting the Republican army than the rest of Britain. He also shows how the Welsh peoples’ more left leaning politics played a role in their willingness to provide aid.
While the stories of the children who the Welsh refugee programs saved from the atrocities of the war could be heartwarming, Davies’ book is not without bias. Davies has lived in Wales his entire life, and the book was published by the University of Wales press. When describing the characteristics of the Welsh that led to their emphasizing with the Basque children, Davies uses words such as “us” and “our,” aligning himself with the Welsh and implying his great pride in his people. Details such as these lead one to believe that his arguments hold a bias in favor of the Welsh by slightly exaggerating their contributions.
An example of this bias in effect is when Davies is describing the routines of the children when they first arrived at the shelters. He goes into great detail about the sports teams, dances, and magazine fundraisers that distracted the children from the horrors in their home country while at the same time, winning the hearts and support of the Welsh people. Davies portrays their experience through rose-colored glasses. While the traumatizing effects of the war on the children is briefly touched upon, it is overshadowed by these stories about the welcoming nature of the shelters and their staff. This is in part due to the nature in which the shelters reported on the state of the children, however the emotional struggles the children faced could have been elaborated upon more.