Men in Battle remains the best descriptive narrative of the Spanish Civil War to be written by a combatant, or by anyone else for that matter. It ranks with the best narratives of war, fictional or reportorial; vivid and honest, it conveys the chaos and cruelty of war, the obscenity and profanity, the filth, the pain, the death, the physical exhaustion and the emotional drain, the camaraderie, the episodes of heroism and the instances of demoralization. If these are universal attributes, Bessie also communicates the uniqueness of the International Brigades, a community of ideologically motivated and committed men, fighting for a cause. But in doing so he refrains from political rhetoric….
(The entire section is 499 words.)