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A Subversive Bull: Robert Lawson and The Story of Ferdinand

Philip Kennedy Illustration Chronicles
Published by Viking Press in 1936, the release of Ferdinand came during the era of the Great Depression. That year also saw the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. In light of these events, Ferdinand started to take on a much greater significance. Ferdinand, the bull presented a Spanish character who stood out from society and refused to fight. Those who supported the violent uprising that was led by Francisco Franco viewed it as pacifist propaganda and they banned its publication.
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