Comrades: Tales of a Brigadista in the Spanish Civil War

Comrades: Tales of a Brigadista in the Spanish Civil War

Comrades: Tales of a Brigadista in the Spanish Civil War

Comrades: Tales of a Brigadista in the Spanish Civil War


The Spanish Civil War served as an ideological and physical battleground for visionary Americans wishing to combat the spread of fascism. Harry Fisher was one such idealist who became a soldier in the famed Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the American contingent of international volunteers dedicated to defeating Franco's forces.

Fisher was one of the earliest American volunteers and one of the few to participate in all the major battles. Under a barrage of shells, bombs, and bullets for eighteen months, he lost his illusions about war's efficacy in solving political issues. To this day a despondence often overwhelms him when he recalls a family photograph he found jutting from the pocket of a slain fascist soldier. His involvement taught him that up close the dead, whether fascist soldiers or his own fallen comrades, looked alike.

This is a war story, simply told. Yet it is also a complex story about a young man testing his ideology in the harsh realities of battle.


The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, but it will go down in history as the first battle of World War II. This book gives a close-up view of that battle. Beware starting to read it--you won't be able to put it down. It is an honest, well-written autobiographical account of the time sixty years ago when Harry Fisher was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a group of Americans who volunteered to fight fascism years before it was popular to do so. I am so glad he has written this story. It will hold you from beginning to end.

In 1937 I was eighteen, a counselor at a summer camp, when the carpentry teacher suddenly quit in midsummer. Months later I found out he'd gone to Spain. The three thousand American Brigadistas became part of the forty-thousand-strong International Brigades. They were communists, socialists, anarchists, and unaffiliated heroes from fifty countries who volunteered to help defend the elected government of Spain when it was attacked by General Francisco Franco. Franco was aided by planes, tanks, men, and materiel supplied by Hitler and Mussolini, and while the government of the United States, along with those of France and England, officially declared neutrality, American corporations such as Texaco also helped Franco by sending him much-needed oil via Italy. After two and a half years of slaughter, Franco won.

Now historical evidence bears out that it was the policy of England, France, and some sectors of the United States to build up Hitler and Mussolini, hoping they'd attack the Soviet Union. And in the sense that . . .

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