SPAIN'S CAUSE WAS MINE by Hank Rubin

SPAIN'S CAUSE WAS MINE

A Memoir of an American Medic in the Spanish Civil War
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 This brief memoir of the Spanish Civil War by an American who volunteered with the International Brigade builds up steam slowly but does eventually become quite gripping. Rubin takes a full third of the book just to describe how difficult it was to get to Spain in 1937 and then devotes additional space to an unsurprising description of his basic training. Following that, though, he offers a detailed look at a war-ravaged country as he describes his journey through separatist Catalonia to join republican positions closer to Madrid. In repeatedly evoking the political climate of the times, stressing the effect of the world's reluctance to act to save Spain from fascist dictatorship, Rubin spares neither his own country nor the Vatican. Initially part of a combat unit, Rubin contracted hepatitis as a result of repeated bouts of dysentery (a subject that, along with his finally remedied virginity, Rubin is perhaps too frank about) and was sent to an army hospital, where he eventually stayed on as a medic (despite the fact that he hadn't had a chance to complete his pre-med studies back home), witnessing firsthand the awful residue of battle. Among the most moving scenes is his unvarnished description of how he helped a mortally wounded soldier in terrible pain to die by injecting air into a vein. In the book's brief epilogue, Rubin discusses the prejudices he encountered when he returned to America following the collapse of the Republic and how, despite his almost immediate return to combat in WW II, suspicions about his loyalty shadowed him. Many saw the republican cause as identical with communism, which oversimplifies the war to the point of absurdity. Rubin has not rewritten Hemingway's or Orwell's masterpieces on the Spanish Civil War, but his contribution is moving, angry, and deeply convincing. (5 b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8093-2159-9
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Southern Illinois Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997




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