Navigate / search

Forthcoming events...

2024

November (precise date tbc), online. Annual Len Crome discussion with Professors Helen Graham and Sir Paul Preston.

Joint launch of Forged in Spain and Perfidious Albion

On 15 June 2024, I joined Professor Sir Paul Preston at the Marx Memorial Library in London for a launch of our latest books, both published by The Clapton Press.

Both books are centred on Britain during the Spanish Civil War. Paul Preston’s Perfidious Albion is a collection of essays with three major themes. The first is the hypocricy of the British Goverment during the war, whose policy on ‘non-intervention’ was, Preston argues, driven not just by a willingness to sacrifice the Spanish Republic to preserve wider European peace, but by a sympathy among the establishment and political class that ‘leant more to the White than to the Red’. The second theme is the sacrifice of a number of medical workers from Britain who volunteered to help the beleagured democratic government of Spain. Finally, Preston turns to a number of writers and historians who have commented on the war, including George Orwell, Burnett Bolloten, Gerald Brenan and Herbert Southworth. Perfidious Albion was described by a reviewer as:

‘The perfect book for anyone seeking a dispassionate and scholarly introduction to the Spanish Civil War.’

John Green, Morning Star

Forged in Spain is a collection of ten biographies which tell the stories of a handful of extraordinary men and women, explaining why they went to Spain, what happened to them there and the lasting, often dramatic impact the war had on their lives. The subjects include several members of the International Brigades (including an artist and poet, two senior British Officers and a driver who later spied for the Soviet Union), a Surgeon, a Journalist, a young member of the ILP militia, an aid and refugee worker and, finally, a volunteer for Franco, who later served with distinction in the SOE during the Second World War.

    ‘These enthralling biographies give a picture of the passions of the age … Baxell’s research is meticulous … Forged in Spain is a serious and moving book that may inspire readers to fight the rise of a new fascism today.’

    Michael Eaude, TLS.

    Both Perfidious Albion and Forged in Spain can be obtained from all the usual outlets, or directly from the publisher, The Clapton Press.

    Giles Tremlett’s The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War.

    On 12 November, 2020 I joined Giles for an online discussion and virtual launch of Giles Tremlett‘s new study of the International Brigades, hosted by the IBMT and Marx Memorial Library. You can listen to the discussion here.

    My review of the book appears in the latest edition of The Spectator. I thought it an engaging read and a well-researched, comprehensive work of scholarship. Based on a mass of primary research, especially the RGASPI material in Moscow, he’s written a very even-handed, ‘warts and all’ account. And his conclusion is, I think a fair one:

    ‘There was nothing perfect about the brigaders and attempts to paint them as 20th century saints only serve to highlight their failings. These were (mostly) men at war. They killed and were killed. Some fought bravely, others did not. Some were noble and brave in their actions, others were cruel, cowardly or callous. Some fought for an ideal, others for adventure. And, for some, those ideals would take them on a journey of oppression that placed them closer, in their behaviour and blind defence of Stalinist communism, to the fascists whom they declared as their enemies than to the democratic Republic that they defended. All fought, however, against the most destructive and evil force unleashed by 20th century Europe’s violent politics and history. As Bernard Knox – by then a distinguished Classics professor at Yale – pointed out, there could be nothing ‘premature’ about anti-fascism.’

    Giles Tremlett, The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War. London: Bloomsbury, 2020, p. 528.

    • cv

      Curriculum Vitae

      Download a pdf of Richard's CV More

    • networking

      Linked in

      Contact Richard via Linked In, the business networking site More

    • attibutes

      Research

      Current areas of research and forthcoming projects More