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Review Essay

Spain’s Foreign Fighters

The Lincoln Brigade and the Legacy of the Spanish Civil War

In This Review

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War
By Adam Hochschild
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 464 pp. Purchase

On March 30, 2008, several hundred people gathered at the waterfront in San Francisco. They had come to witness the unveiling of a monument to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: 2,800 Americans who joined some 35,000 other volunteers from more than 50 countries to defend the Spanish Republic against fascist forces during Spain’s civil war. The conflict, which raged from 1936 until 1939, led to the deaths of around half a million people, including at least 750 Americans, and ended with the victory of General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist faction.

The monument, a 40-foot-long steel structure, contains rows of translucent onyx blocks encased with written texts and photographs. “It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees,” reads one, with the words attributed to the Spanish Communist icon Dolores Ibárruri. At the unveiling, Mayor Gavin Newsom addressed the crowd. “The spirit of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade,” he declared, is “a legacy that

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