The first English-language translation of the memoirs of Eugene Downing.
Eugene Downing (1913-2003) was not your usual Irish brigader: a communist from his teenage years, an urbanized skilled worker, and an Irish language enthusiast. Downing had no immediate Republican record, joining the communist Workers Groups in Dublin just out of his apprenticeship as an electrician. Despite this backdrop, Downing spent nine months in the International Brigades Spain before being invalided home (amputated lower left leg) in December 1938. One Foot in a Spanish Grave: Eugene Downing's Memoir of the International Brigades in Spain
--published in the Irish language as La Nina Bonita agus An R鏙s璯 Dubh: Cuimhn?Cinn ar Chogadh Cathartha na Sp壾nne
--has been long worthy of a translation into English. The structure of the original Irish text has been altered slightly, with some appendices omitted. Translated by Miche嫮 ?hAodha, edited and introduced by Barry McLoughlin, One Foot in a Spanish Grave
begins with Brendan Byrne, Eugene's nephew, sharing his memories of a highly non-conformist uncle.
Downing's portrayal of life in the International Brigades is often humorous, greatly generous when judging others, but ultimately critical of political zealotry. He proves himself to be a wry observer of his fellow volunteers and of his own youthful militancy in the virulently anti-communist Dublin of the 1930s.