With the Reds in Andalucia

LAST UPDATED: 30 Jun, 2012 @ 10:15
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With the Reds in Andalucia

A FASCINATING and gritty first person account of life on the Andalucian front with the International Brigades has been translated into Spanish 24 years after the author died.

Joe Monks was one of 200 Irishmen who enrolled with the International Brigades to fight in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

He was aged just 21 when he travelled to Andalucia getting involved in the bloody battle of Lopera (Jaen), and later in Pozoblanco (Cordoba).

With the Reds in Andalucia – published in English in 1985, just three years before he died – is his account of that time.

And it has now been translated into Spanish with an introduction by Miguel Angel del Arco, a history professor at Granada University.

“It breaks with the official account of the International Brigades, dominated by the testimony of George Orwell in Homage to Cataluna,” said Del Arco.

“Unlike Orwell’s testimony, which is distinguished by showing a calm front and disaffection with what happened in Spain, Monks gives an overview of the war with constant warfare, and he describes the brutality of the trenches and the fear that went with it.

“It’s a realistic story, of course biased, but it does not exaggerate or try to hide things; it gives an account of the lack of resources in the brigade and how they were crushed again and again by the enemy.”

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  1. Surely Prof. Del Arco has been misquoted, George Orwell did not serve with the International Brigades; he was with the POUM militia on the Aragon Front, before being wounded and returning to the UK. His book ‘Homage to Catalonia’ covers his time at the front and also his involvement in events of Barcelona’s ‘May Days’, 3rd to 8th May 1937 when the Anarchists and the POUM (anti-Stalinist Marxists) who controlled Barcelona were attacked by the Communists and the Assault Guards. So Orwell was well away from the International Brigades both geographically and politically.

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