Glaswegian Farquhar McHarg's (1900–1978) voyage to Barcelona in 1918 landed him as a teenager in the middle of a web of espionage and anarcho-syndicalist uprisings and launched him into the life of an anarchist revolutionary, playing a key role in Spain's bloody 20th century history and decades of struggle to overthrow Alfonso XIII, Primo de Rivera, Salazar, Mussolini, Franco, Petain and Hitler, and life as a clandestine figure in multiple continents as he worked to advance the anarchist idea — fighting injustice and fomenting social revolution wherever he went.
"Having known Farquhar McHarg in his prime, and despaired of him ever putting down on paper his extraordinary experiences, I am delighted that he has finally done so. Glasgow’s answer to Victor Serge has produced a document of remarkable value, so grippingly written that one might almost think it was a novel.”
— Professor Paul Preston, historian, Hispanist and Principe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish Studies, LSE
“‘Astonishing—a new sort of history fiction or ‘doction’, thrilling to read and the most gripping illustrations I ever saw in one book—only wish the publisher had given them a full page each.”
— Neal Ascherson, journalist, author, lecturer, screenwriter, editor of Public Archeology, and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London
“When I was in Spain making Dr Zhivago I well remember a strikingly dashing and charismatic Scot who was working as an extra. His name was Farquhar and one night after shooting we spoke for hours in the bar. He said that he had been in a love with a woman called Lara. I recall that he had had a remarkable life and I told him that he should one day write it down. What a thrill to find out that he did so.”
— Julie Christie, actor
A young boy casts his fate with the wretched of the earth, leaps onto the back of the mad bull that will become the Twentieth Century, and holds on for dear life . . .’
— Bill Ayers, cofounder of the Weather Underground
“... I can confirm he knew a girl called Lara...the sister of a lover of a close acquaintance of mine. Her memories were, according to him, not untinged with bitterness. Not my business of course. And who knows what really went on? I was told Lara found a certain revenge by running off with his false tooth (the original being knocked out, you'll recall, by a Fascist gun butt at the bakery siege in Barcelona). I got all this from 'Colonel' M.A.Pyatnitski who had been part of the aborted German aerial experiments of 1938 and have to admit he was a bit unreliable. His implacable hatred of anarchists coloured everything he told me.”
— Michael Moorcock, author and musician
"Written with tremendous brio, this is a gripping tale of an idealist's 'coming of age. McHarg’s gripping narrative convincingly taps the rich historical seams of intrigue, protest and conflict of an age in which many of the streets of Barcelona, like those of many other European cities, became stained with blood due to the struggle between the defenders of the established order and those who dreamed of overthrowing it."
— Dr Chris Ealham, author of Class, Culture and Conflict in Barcelona 1898-1937