The most disappointing part of this book is the unfortunate number of typographical errors that appear in the text. I would have expected more care to have been taken in the preparation of the first edition of this work to be available for several decades and really made it a fitting tribute to the author. It’s certainly good to see this available at a very reasonable price (copies on the used market were getting pretty pricey).
Now, on to the book itself. This is a highly readable and well-paced account of a foreign volunteer for the Nationalist cause in the Spanish Civil War, of which there were quite few compared to the Republican side, so this really fills a gap in the literature of that conflict. But it does more than that, it doesn’t fill the spaces in some mechanical way, but offers a vivid and insightful account of both personalities and events. Kemp writes about both very well, but his short descriptions of personalities are one of the strongest features of the book. Sometimes just sketches of a couple sentences, but with remarkable humanity, sympathy and insight. And not always of specific people, but also of the Spanish population affected by the tragic events of the war.
Also notable is Kemp’s ability to sympathize with the other side, and desire to see them not treated inhumanely, despite his opposition to their goals and methods. Most evident in an episode where he tries to get the life of a captured International Brigade member spared, but in the end to no avail. Just one of the many episodes in this book which provide us with a perspective on the conflict which is rarely heard. While he is a Nationalist supporter, he can still to feel for the humanity of the Republicans despite witnessing and documenting the atrocities they committed (and acknowledging that the Republicans were much better are Public Relations).
Very much worth reading, despite the occasional flaws in this edition.
- Paperback: 170 pages
- Publisher: Independently Published (21 March 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 979-8624731721
- ASIN: B08673MBF1
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 313 g
- Customer Reviews: 45 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)