Of all the great paintings in the world, Picasso's Guernica has had a more direct impact on our consciousness than perhaps any other. In this absorbing and revealing book, Gijs van Hensbergen tells the story of this masterpiece. Starting with its origin in the destruction of the Basque town of Gernika in the Spanish Civil War, the painting is then used as a weapon in the propaganda battle against Fascism. Later it becomes the nucleus of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the detonator for the Big Bang of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s. This tale of passion and politics shows the transformation of this work of art into an icon of many meanings, up to its long contested but eventually triumphant return to Spain in 1981.