Arthur Koestler’s “Dialogue with Death” is a compelling story of his imprisonment by the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Koestler is a controversial figure in life and literature, as demonstrated, for example, by Michael Scammell’s “Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth Century Skeptic.” This work is one his most accessible. Koestler’s best and most highly regarded work is, of course, the novel, “Darkness at Noon,” which is, indeed unparalleled. I found “Dialogue with Death” to be equally as compelling. Koestler has an amazing style and perceptive eye for detail. One does not have to be in agreement with his politics to enjoy the work. Another book on this same theme is George Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia.” I must confess that I regard Orwell as one of the great writers of the twentieth century. However, “Dialogue with Death” presents a different point of view of the Spanish Civil War–that of the political prisoner rather than the soldier (which Orwell was) in that conflict. Most significantly, both books portray the heroism and commitment of the Spaniards to their country, and their willingness to suffer and die for their homeland. Their endurance in the face of unbelievable hardship serves as an inspiration for us, as we struggle to escape the gravitation pull of twenty-first-century materialism, apathy and despair.