The Spanish civil war was a call to arms for 2,300 British
volunteers, of which over 500 were from Scotland. The first book of
its kind, 'Homage to Caledonia' examines Scotland's role in the
conflict, detailing exactly why Scottish involvement was so
profound. The book moves chronologically through events and places,
firstly surveying the landscape in contemporary Scotland before
describing volunteers' journeys to Spain, and then tracing their
every involvement from arrival to homecoming (or not). There is
also an account of the non-combative role, from fundraising for
Spain and medical aid, to political manoeuvrings within the
volatile Scottish left. Using a wealth of previously-unpublished
letters sent back from the front as well as other archival items,
Daniel Gray is able to tell little known stories of courage in
conflict, and to call into question accepted versions of events
such as the 'murder' of Bob Smillie, or the heroism of 'The Scots
Scarlet Pimpernel'. Homage to Caledonia offers a very human take on
events in Spain: for every tale of abject distress in a time of
war, there is a tale of a Scottish volunteer urinating in his
general's boots, knocking back a dram with Errol Flynn or appalling
Spanish comrades with his pipe playing. For the first time, read
the fascinating story of Caledonia's role in this seminal conflict.
As seen on STV Documentary 'The Scots Who Fought Franco'
'Daniel Gray has done a marvellous job in bringing together the
stories of Scots volunteers - in this] many-voiced, multi-layered
book' SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY
'...moving and thought-provoking.' THE HERALD
'A new and fascinating contribution' SCOTTISH REVIEW OF BOOKS
'Book of the week - Gray deserves applause for shining a light on a
lesser-known aspect of the nation's character of which we should
all be proud. 'PRESS & JOURNAL
Thirty-five thousand people from across the world volunteered to
join the armed resistance in a war on fascism. More people,
proportionately, went from Scotland than any other country, and the
entire nation was gripped by the conflict. What drove so many
ordinary Scots to volunreer in a foreign war?
Their stories are powerfully and honestly told, often in their own
words: the ordinary men and women who made their way to Spain over
the Pyrenees when the UK government banned anyone from going to
support either side; the nuses and ambulance personnel who
discovered for themselves the horrors of modern warfare; and the
people back home who defied their poverty to give generously to the
Spanish republican cause.
Even in war there are light-hearted moments: a Scottish volunteer
drunkenly urinating in his general's boots, enduring the dark
comedy of learning to shoot with sticks amidst a scarcity of
rifles, or enjoying the surreal experience of raising a dram with
Errol Flynn. They went from all over the country: Glasgow,
Edinburgh. Aberdeen, Dundee, Fife and the Highlands, and they
fought to save Scotland, and the world, from the growing threat of
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