Crusade In Spain by Jason Gurney


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Readers Union, 1976. 

'The author, who died in 1973, was a sculptor living and working in Chelsea when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936. He answered the call to join the International Brigade, and within a couple of months, after a brief period of training with the British Battalion, was thrown straight into the front line at Jarama when an attempt to contain Franco's advance was completely and disastrously overwhelmed. The Battalion was devastated and two-thirds of their number killed on the first day. Although Gurney was in Spain for only nine months before being invalided home (his right hand was so badly shattered that he was never able again to work as a sculptor), his experiences - inadequate training, squalid billets, useless weapons, incompetent leadership - bear witness to a disillusioning crusade. His own politic views had been formed in the radical climate of Chelsea's bohemia; in Spain, he learned that vague idealism had no part to play.'