A controversial study by the author of the praised and damned The Siege of Alcazar (1965). The central topic is the participants' ""collective experience."" The composition of the 3200 American volunteers (half of whom died in Spain) is described and their sufferings attributed to bad-faith leadership as well as an insufficiency of arms, skills and numbers. The book scorches not only traditional villains like Marty and Gal but the glamorous Merriman, the egotistical Dallet, Doran the typical ""commissar."" A few leaders come off well. Most of the men are idealistic, grandly profane, progressively demoralized (deserters had a hard time). The conflicts between egalitarian spirit and manipulation are rendered with folkloric details of tobacco, women, songs, correspondents and prisons. From the first recruitments (of competent but ""expendable"" young Communists) to many veterans' difficulties with the Party, Eby comes down hard on the American C.P.'s tactical stupidities and unprincipled policies. The book will provoke attention from both specialists and consumers of popular history. The style is caustically journalistic; preferable to the academic chill, jaunty nostalgia or pseudo-lyricism of other studies.