‘Baxell’s authoritative book draws on unpublished memoirs as well as personal interviews with a tiny band of survivors who lived their experience, in the poignant words of one volunteer, as "a time of hope, when a man with a rifle had some power to divert the tide of human affairs".’
(Military History Monthly
‘Examines the motivation of these individuals and recounts their stories in an oral history of remarkable power.’
(Good Book Guide
‘Most interesting, because previously least known, are Richard Baxell’s detailed descriptions of the backgrounds of the individual volunteers, drawn from unpublished diaries and oral histories, and the reception they received on their return home.’
(Caroline Moorhead Literary Review
'Well researched and luminously written, Baxell's book shows us what these volunteers were like - their grand heroism and their petty hatreds, the miseries they endured, the awfulness of war.'
(Francis Beckett The Tablet
‘Baxell draws painstaking miniatures of the uncontroversial heroism of doomed men. It’s beyond history; it’s myth.’
(Gideon-Lewis-Kraus London Review of Books
'This is a brilliant new book with lots of new material that should appeal to the general reader as well as those who already have a fair knowledge of the subject. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it.'
(Journal of the Spanish Study Circle
‘Lively and accessible… Those of us privileged, like the author, to have met and known a number of the survivors know that Spain always remained in their hearts. The time they spent there was proudly remembered by many as the most important of their lives.’
'This is a colorful, heroic, tragic and deeply troubling tale. War is a horror that can serve a good cause. Baxell provides a full account of mostly working-class people who voluntarily went to war for a good cause that they believed in. Based on an extraordinary range of material, it is a splendid thing to have this full and satisfying account.'
(Peter Stansky The Volunteer
‘Richard Baxell is one of the world’s greatest experts on the International Brigades. Unlikely Warriors is not only the definitive work on the British volunteers in terms of its research base and its awareness of the complex British, Spanish and international contexts. It is also a superbly written and deeply moving vision of the inspiring but doomed efforts of men and women to halt Europe’s descent into war.’
(Paul Preston, author of The Spanish Holocaust)
About the Author
Richard Baxell is a research associate at the London School of Economics and a trustee of the International Brigade Memorial Trust. He is the author of a number of books and articles on British volunteers for the International Brigades, during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.
His previous works include the critically acclaimed British Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War: The British Battalion in the International Brigades, 1936-1939. With Jim Jump and Angela Jackson, he is a co-author of the IBMT's travelling exhibition, Antifascistas and the accompanying book.