by David Boyd Haycock - £9.99 Old Street Publishing (2013)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781908699312 | ISBN 10: 1908699310
George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, John Dos Passos, Felicia Browne, John Cornford, Stephen Spender... These were just some of the talented, committed and adventure-hungry men and women who travelled to Spain to join the struggle against General Franco's fascist rebellion.
Through their personal letters, diaries and memoirs, David Boyd Haycock brings the experiences of these remarkable individuals - as well as many less celebrated but equally compelling figures - stunningly to life. He describes the mingled excitement and trepidation with which they set out for Spain, and their sheer relief that here at last was a chance to do something against the calamitous threat posed by Fascism. He evokes the glamour and the terror of wartime Barcelona, as Stalin's security forces lethally stifled dissent and imposed Party orthodoxy. And he charts the painful disillusionment of a generation of men and women as they witnessed the triumph of realpolitik over morality, and came to understand their impotence in the face of greater forces.
Hemingway described the Spanish Civil War as 'the dress rehearsal for the inevitable European war'. I Am Spain is at once a compelling, scrupulously researched account of this pivotal 20th-century conflict, and a moving, psychologically exact portrait of an extraordinary, passionate and gifted group of men and women whose minds and lives were changed by the experience of war.
(Price & availability last checked: November 2019)