This is a press release from the publishers of Bob Doyle's latest book
Book Launch - Liberty Hall, Dublin, Tuesday June 27th, 6.30 pm.
Please attend, please buy and read the book
The Last Brigadista
Brigadista: An Irishman's Fight Against Fascism is the lively, sometimes humourous memoir of the last brigadista, Bob Doyle. 2006 is the seventieth anniversary of the Spanish
Civil War. This, coupled with the recent death of Doyle's great friend Michael O' Riordan, who was chairman of the Communist Party of Ireland, makes this essential record all the more poignant. Bob Doyle is a witness to many of the major events of the twentieth-century. His experiences reflect times of great hardship but also of great idealism, showing the Brigadista's motivating visionary concern for what Franco's victory would mean for democracy.
Born in 1916, Bob Doyle recalls his exploitation by religious charities and poor families, who used his labour to supplement their income after his mother was declared unfit to care
for her family and confined in an asylum as a religious lunatic. This harsh existence was unremarkable for the time, 'From the slums of unemployment most went through the university of life - reform school, borstal and prison. We were no exceptions.' The author's early life provides a window into the misery, poverty and religious hysteria of post-independence Ireland.
Despairing of ever finding employment Doyle became active in demonstrations for work and in the fight against the rising tide of Fascism. He came under the influence of Kit Conway, the founding member of the Communist Party of Ireland and the Irish Republican Congress. Conway was to have a huge impact on Bob's life and politics and, like many others, he became motivated to fight for the Republican government against Franco. The emotional feelings of the International Brigade who fought on the side of justice, morality and decency suffuse
this fascinating autobiography.
From a historical perspective Bob's account of his imprisonment at the disused fifth-century monastery at San Pedro de Cana near de Burgos is unique. After spending some nights imprisoned at Zaragoza, where the prisoners dehumanising treatment was disguised and portrayed as similar to being in a relaxing retirement home, they were transfered to this crumbling monastery and subjected to further torture. Forced to sleep in cow-sheds in bitter cold with little protection from the elements the prisoners experienced daily beatings for trivial offences. The suffering and achievements of the Brigadistas was only recognised with the restoration of democracy to Spain after Franco's death.
Anyone who reads this book who did not fight in Spain will be inspired to know more about the anti-fascist struggle that unfolded there. Bob Doyle's story is a remarkable memoir for its deep faith in humanity. Despite defeat, capture and imprisonment his spirit remains undiminished and his warmth and humour shine through.
Bob Doyle will visit Dublin for the launch of Brigadista which takes place at Liberty Hall,
27 June, 2006 at 6.30pm. The book will be launched by Michael D. Higgins and will be followed with ballads from Ronnie Drew.
The author will be in Dublin from Tuesday, 27 June until Saturday, 1 July.
For further information or to request an interview please contact:
Teresa Daly, Marketing and PR Officer, Tel. 01-294-2556 ext 222, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brigadista: An Irishman's Fight Against Fascism
is on sale now at 14.99/ £9.99
A collection of recent pieces about Bob Doyle
Some earlier articles about Bob Doyle can be seen here.
'I don't know how I wasn't killed' - The banner man: Bob Doyle in the Guardian, Friday November 10, 2000
Ideals indecently buried interviewed by Eugene Egan in Fortnight magazine, Belfast, June 1993
Address by Bob Doyle at the unveiling of the memorial to Kit Conway, 11/June/2005
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