Caroline Moorehead

Intellectuals-at-Arms

I am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men & Women Who Went to Fight Fascism

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Old Street 363pp £25) order from our bookshop

Unlikely Warriors: The British in the Spanish Civil War and the Struggle Against Fascism

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Aurum Press 516pp £25 order from our bookshop

‘Iknow, as surely as I know anything in the world,’ wrote the American reporter Herbert Matthews, many years after returning from the Spanish Civil War, ‘that nothing so wonderful will ever happen to me again as those two and a half years I spent in Spain … It gave meaning to life; it gave courage and faith in humanity … There one learned that … nothing counted, nothing was worth fighting for but the idea of liberty.’ Matthews was one of some 35,000 foreigners who travelled to Spain after Franco began his attack on the elected Republican government, a few of them to report or to observe, but most of them to fight on the Loyalist side. His nostalgia, though shared by others, rings oddly for a war better remembered for its brutality, for its summary executions, reprisals and torture, and for the defeat of the ill-equipped, poorly organised Republican army.

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