In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

456 THE CANADIAN ttlSTOltICAL REVIEW seemto run into one another; everything aboutthe formatand printingis crampedand unimaginative, makingthe reader's task of keepingalive his interest in these almost arcane topics allbutimpossible. Surely such animportant studyasProfessor Rodney's deserved a betterfate. Therearetimes,however, whenProfessor Rodney's materialovercomes these handicaps. Students of the 1920sandparticularly of thirdpartymovements in Canada oweRodney a largedebtforthenewandsignificant information hehas uncovered concerning the formation and firstdecade's existence of the Communistparty in Canada.His studyis eramined with the usefulfactsand analyses after which historians oftheperiod have long been hankering. Many of themyths surrounding thepartyhavenowbeenforever dispelled by Rodney's diligentresearch. It will nolonger be acceptable, asit hasbeenfor solong,to seethe Canadian partyaslargelyan organization of foreigners, for asRodney pointedly makes clear,the leadership of thepartywaspredominantly Canadian and of Britishorigin.In contrast, Rodney's research fully bearsout the commonplace analysis that theparty's failurein Canada waschiefly theresultof its stubborn adherence to anobsolete Marxist ideology based onclass conflict, and of itstotalsubordination to a Moscow hierarchy whichconsistently misread the Canadian situation. The greatdisappointment of thisbookisRodney's failureevento attempt to understand and analyzethe motives of thosededicated menand womenwho banded together undertheredflagof revolution. Whowerethey? Whydidthey sacrifice everything for the sakeof the party?What weretheir backgrounds? theirinterests? theirhopesand aspirations? What motivated theirfanaticdeterruination to overturn Canadian society? In short,whatsortof peoplejoinedthe party andwhy?Exceptfor several shortandunsatisfactory biographies added, it appears, asan afterthought in an appendix, Rodney failsto copewith these key questions. His refusal-or inability-to understand thesepeopleand to capturetheirtormentaswell astheirzealandexuberance makes thisa much lesssatisfactory bookthanit mightotherwise havebeen. I. M. Glendon College YorkUniversity The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion: Canadian Participation in the Spanish Civil War. By V•CTO• Ho,'•R. Toronto: CoppClark.1969.Pp.xii, 285,maps, illus. $6.50cloth; $3.25paper. .•LTI-IOUGI-I GENEBAL FRANCO IS STILLIN POV•ER, the Spanish Civfi War seems now a very distantpieceof history.But only a generation ago about1250 Canadians, a largenumber of themforeign-born, foughtagainst Francoin the xvth International Brigade. They represented a higherper capitacontribution in manpower thanthatof anyothercountry save France andSpain herself. In this sometimes fascinatingo sometimes irritatingbookProfessor Hoar describes the experiences of thesemen and of otherCanadians, suchas Dr Norman Bethune, whosought to savethe Spanish Republic andminister to the Spanish people. Assisted in his research by Mac Reynolds, VictorHoar hasbasedhis book chiefly ontapedinterviews with,andmemoirs of,survivors. He isnotassuccessful in capturing thepersonal sideofwarandtheesprit ofthefighting menasis, r•vmws 457 say,FarleyMowatin The Regiment. Still,whilethe prosesometimes lumbers alongungainfifily andirrelevancies nowandthenintrude, we geta goodaccount of thevolunteers andtheirtortuous journey to Spain, of minormilitaryvictories andmajordefeats, of disease, deprivation andthoroughly realistic fear,of iniury, capture, andsudden death. We alsogeta goodlookat Dr Bethune, HazenSise,HenningSorerisen, and their CanadianBloodTransfusion Service.Too little knownby Canadians, Bethuric cappeda distinguished careeras a surgeon with greathumanitarian service in SpainandChina:probably theonlyCanadian evertobeeulogized by Chairman Mao. Recruiting in Canadafor the International Brigades was handledby the Communists, thoughat leasta largeminority of thevolunteers werenotof that persuasion. Hoartellsusthat anymanof "liberal, democratic tendencies" could join,though"ff he had no history of involvement in any Left endearour, he mighthavetrouble, at theoutset, discovering access to theappropriate people." Unwanted were•CMr menandTrotskyites: "We didn'tknowwhichwe hated the most,"one recruiter hassaid. By andlarge,themenwentto Spain"tofightfascism, to defend democracy." Oncetheywerethere,their anti-fascist attitudes werereinforced by political commissars, mostlyCommunists, who were attached to everyunit from companieson up. Hoar'sdiscussion of their role is sketchy; Verle B. Johnston's account, in his Legions of Babel,is moreenlightening. A "specific horrorof fascism," Hoarwrites, sustained themenevenafterit became cleartheinsurgents wouldwin. The "Mac-Paps" knewwhy they werefighting,and they seemto havehalf-convinced Hoar that they wereright in their appreciation of the issues. In hisopening chapter Hoarindicates thattheissues andantagonisms underlyingthewar weremuchmorecomplicated thanmostof the Brigaders realized. Yet in the rest of his book he uses the words "Nationalist" and "fascist" as synonyms, thusmakingan argument for an interpretation of the struggle which seemed iustified to left-wingers duringthe daysof the "Popular Front,"but which hadonlylimited applicability towhatwashappening in Spain. Since Hoar makes virtually noattempt to define fascism it ispossible thatheequates it with anykindof right-wing authoritarianism. Usedin thisway,however, thetermis littlemorethana swear word:pungent, perhaps, buthardlydefinitive. The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion wasformedonlyin the summer of 1937, receiving itsname in thefaceof some opposition bytheAmericans. Bynomeans alloftheCanadians whoserved in Spain were"Mac-Paps," therefore; Americans, in fact, outnumberedCanadiansin the battalion...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 456-458
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.