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Paperback edition of Unlikely Warriors now available

The paperback edition of Unlikely Warriors was published by Aurum Press on 1 April 2014. It is available from all good bookshops and online sellers.

‘When a Nationalist military uprising was launched in Spain in July 1936, the Spanish Republic’s desperate pleas for assistance from the leaders of Britain and France fell on deaf ears. Appalled at the prospect of another European democracy succumbing to fascism, volunteers from across the Continent and beyond flocked to Spain’s aid, many to join the International Brigades.

More than 2,500 of these men and women came from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth, and contrary to popular myth theirs was not an army of adventurers, poets and public school idealists. Overwhelmingly they hailed from modest working class backgrounds, leaving behind their livelihoods and their families to fight in a brutal civil war on foreign soil. Some 500 of them never returned home.

In this inspiring and moving oral history, Richard Baxell weaves together a diverse array of testimony to tell the remarkable story of the Britons who took up arms against General Franco. Drawing on his own extensive interviews with survivors, research in archives across Britain, Spain and Russia, as well as first-hand accounts by writers both famous and unknown, Unlikely Warriors presents a startling new interpretation of the Spanish Civil War and follows a band of ordinary men and women who made an extraordinary choice.’

‘The definitive work on the British volunteers … superbly written and deeply moving.’ (Paul Preston, author of The Spanish Holocaust)

‘Painstaking miniatures of the uncontroversial heroism of doomed men.’ (Gideon-Lewis-Kraus in the London Review of Books)

‘A marvellously accessible history of the British volunteers who joined the struggle against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.  Fascinating.’ (Victoria Hislop, author of The Return) 

‘A remarkable accomplishment … a must-read for anyone interested in Spain and its recent history.’ (Caroline Angus Baker, author of the ‘Secrets of Spain’ series of novels)

A well researched, largely balanced, highly readable and accessible narrative of what remains a compelling story.’ (Lewis Mates in Contemporary British History)

‘Benefiting from an impressive range of research, this is an extraordinary story of heroism, tragedy and sacrifice.’ (History of War)

‘An oral history of remarkable power.’ (Good Book Guide)

‘Well researched and luminously written.’ (Francis Beckett in The Tablet)

‘A colourful, heroic, tragic and deeply troubling tale.’ (Peter Stansky in The Volunteer)

‘Authoritative.’ (Military History Monthly)

‘Beautifully written … a totally absorbing read about incredible people whose like we will probably never see again.’ (Morning Star)

Click below for customer reviews: 

The IBMT’s annual commemoration, London 2015

I have been attending the IBMT‘s annual in commemoration in London for over ten years now and, in my opinion, this year’s event was the best yet. Fears that the death of the last UK veteran would lead to an inevitable decline in the charities fortune have certainly proved to be ill-founded. Attendance this year was higher than ever.

Wreaths in the red, yellow and purple of the Spanish Republic
Wreaths in the red, yellow and purple of the Spanish Republic

Clearly the weather played a part and there’s no denying that Owen Jones is a big draw. And not to forget a plug from the consistently supportive Robert Elms. But there was more to it than that. This year’s line-up was not just strong, it was well-balanced: a few, well-delivered speeches, some atmospheric music and the recital of an extremely moving poem.

Banners in honour of the Spanish Republic and the International Brigades flying proudly
Banners in honour of the Spanish Republic and the International Brigades flying proudly

Speaking and performing at this year’s event in Jubilee Gardens were:

And performing afterwards in the Camel and Artichoke were:

na-mara in full flow at the Camel and Artichoke
na-mara in full flow at the Camel and Artichoke

There is an excellent online photo gallery of the event and several of the day’s speeches are on the IBMT’s YouTube page, including the passionate speech by Owen Jones featured on this blog, above.

It was great to see so many familiar faces; it was also great to see so many new faces. Congratulations to all involved. Roll on 2016!

  • Curriculum Vitae

    Download a pdf of Richard's CV More

  • Linked in

    Contact Richard via Linked In, the business networking site More

  • Journalisted

    Archive of newspaper articles for The Guardian and other national newspapers More

  • Research

    Current areas of research and forthcoming projects More