Although ostensibly fiction, this is actually a detailed journal of the author's recent experiences as head of the first international flying escadrille in the Spanish Civil War. The span includes the first nine months of the conflict from the Fascist coup d'etat through the siege of Toledo. On the surface this might appear to be a handbook of civil warfare, with profusion of military and strategic details of attacks and counterattacks, on land and in the air -- an insurmountable hurdle for the average reader. There is no plot. Malraux has selected characters to represent groups involved with their various credos, -- an anarchist, an anti-fascist, a Catholic, a democrat, an idealistic Communist, an English journalist, etc. His interest in them is as figureheads serving as prototypes of the ideologies, sounding boards for the convictions of the mongrel groups comprising the loyalist force. Some of the writing is brilliant. All of it is sincere in its attempt to set forth the impetus behind the struggle, ""man's hope"", the driving force of revolution and war, the hope of eventual fraternity. Diffuse in argument and in military detail -- with the result that the book is chaotic as the world it represents.