June 2013

Two books are recommended reading for Unite members this month.

UnlikelyWarriersCov cRichard Baxell, Unlikely warriors. The British in the Spanish Civil War and the Struggle Against Fascism (London: Aurum Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Lewis Mates
The keen interest in the British response to the Spanish Civil War shows no signs of abating. The latest book taking this as its subject is Richard Baxell’s Unlikely warriors, which, as the author explains, is ‘the first to place the Spanish Civil War within the context of the volunteers’ lives, rather than the other way round’. (p.9).

This means the book begins with three contextualising chapters; the first discussing Brigaders’ responses to Britain in depression, to unemployment and the hated Means Test, the second the campaigns against indigenous fascism (especially the British Union of Fascists) and the third considering the debates around the Spanish civil war and various British responses at State and individual level to the conflict.


In and Out of the Lions Den Cov cJulie Ryan, In and Out of the Lion's Den. Poverty, war and football  £8.99
Fans of social history and football will enjoy this book in which a triumph for love and freedom provides a fitting backcloth to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and the economic depression of the 1930s.
John Shepherd was a professional footballer with Millwall, Brighton and Gillingham in the 1950s and early 1960s. He sprung to fame with four goals on his debut for the south London side in October 1952. Author, Julie Ryan, is his eldest daughter. She was born just months after her dad played a major role in Millwall’s toppling of Cup Goliaths, Newcastle United, in the 1957 FA Cup.
After meeting at a North Kensington youth club, Shepherd had courted and married Esther Gonzalez two years earlier. The young Spanish bride was born during the height of the conflict in her country between 1936-1939. This saw General Franco’s Nationalist Forces seeking to overthrow the elected Republican Government that was set to reform a corrupt political system.