** Shortlisted for the Military History Matters Book of the Year Award **
'Magnificent. Narrative history at its vivid and compelling best' Fergal Keane
The first major history of the International Brigades: a tale of blood, ideals and tragedy in the fight against fascism.
The Spanish Civil War was the first armed battle in the fight against fascism, and a rallying cry for a generation. Over 35,000 volunteers from sixty-one countries around the world came to defend democracy against the troops of Franco, Hitler and Mussolini.
Ill-equipped and disorderly, yet fuelled by a shared sense of purpose and potential glory, these disparate groups of idealistic young men and women formed a volunteer army of a size and type unseen since the Crusades, known as the International Brigades. Were they heroes or fools? Saints or bloodthirsty adventurers? And what exactly did they achieve?
In this magisterial history, Giles Tremlett tells - for the first time - the story of the Spanish Civil War through the experiences of this remarkable group. Drawing on the Brigades' archives in Moscow, as well as first-hand accounts, The International Brigades captures all the human drama of a historic mission to halt fascist expansion in Europe.