Available for the first time in over 80 years this is the only first-hand account by an Irish writer of the opening months of the Spanish Civil War.
Peadar O'Donnell was a major literary and political figure in 20th Century Ireland. In July of 1936 he witnessed the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Avidly interested in the reforms of the recently elected Republican Government, he had already enjoyed conversations with workers, land labourers and political militants as he travelled across the country. Having just arrived in Barcelona when the Fascist military uprising began, he was present during street fighting as hastily assembled local militias challenged the fascist advance. After a brief return to Dublin to highlight the cause of Republican Spain and to counter the pro-Franco propaganda, he would travel again, this time to Madrid where he experienced the horror of aerial bombardments.
“It reads like a war correspondent’s report with a breathless style of writing conveying a sense of presence at the actual frontline. He is a wordsmith, and his descriptions are authentic and credible. His ability to provide context to what he describes, and his honesty and integrity is on constant display. Peadar was a committed activist, a revolutionary and an internationalist. While he never shies away from his own beliefs and opinions, he never distracts from or overwhelms us when he places himself in the narrative.”
First published in 1937, this book is an essential and unparalleled eye-witness account of world changing historic events. Peadar O'Donnell was a veteran campaigner, with an established reputation for his republican, socialist, trade union and land reform activity. His experience in Spain led to him becoming instrumental in the organising of the Irish volunteers to the International Brigades.
This edition published by Friends of the International Brigades in Ireland (FIBI) features a new introduction by Donal Donnelly and afterword by Harry Owens.
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