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The Tree of Gernika
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G. L. Steer (1909-1944) was one of the great war correspondents of the twentieth-century. Born in South Africa, educated at Winchester and Oxford, after an apprenticeship in journalism he went to Ethiopia in July 1935 to cover the forthcoming Italian invasion. He remained loyal to the Ethiopians and their emperor, Haile Selassie 'till the end' and helped in the latter's restoration to his throne in 1941. Two of the three books G. L. Steer wrote about Ethiopia and the Italian occupation - Caesar in Abyssinia and Sealed and Delivered - are reissued in Faber Finds. He also wrote the official history, The Abyssinian Campaigns. His masterpiece, The Tree of Gernika, is reissued in Faber Finds as well. The Tree of Gernika: a Field Study of Modern War is a first-hand account of the struggle of the Basque Autonomous Republic in the Spanish Civil War, from the burning of Irun to the fall of Bilbao. During this campaign Steer filed his most important dispatch about the destruction of Gernika (Guernica) by Nazi aircraft. In the Second World War G. L. Steer worked as an army intelligence officer: he died on Christmas Day 1944 when he crashed an overloaded jeep in Bengal. Nicholas Rankin worked 20 years for BBC World Service, winning two UN awards and ending up as Chief Producer. His previous books include biographies of Robert Louis Stevenson and the war-correspondent George Steer, Churchill's Wizards, a study of camouflage, deception and black propaganda in both world wars, and Ian Fleming's Commandos, the history of a WW2 naval intelligence unit. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in London and Kent.

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