Bob Doyle was born in Dublin's inner city on 12 February 1916. After a childhood full of the expected privations of the poor, he joined the ranks of the unemployed in the dark 1930s, failing to find steady work in either Ireland or England. On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 anti-Fascists from all over the world were motivated to fight for the Republican government against Franco. In December 1937, Bob Doyle finally managed to enter Spain and, with other volunteers from Britain and Ireland, reported to an International Brigade battalion at Figueras, where a comrade-in-arms was the English writer Laurie Lee. Captured by the Fascists, he spent many months with other Brigadistas in the prison camp of San Pedro, until eventually, in early 1939, they were released to the French as part of a prisoner exchange. He did not forget Spain, nor the fight against fascism, returning in secret to the country and taking part in the underground anti-Franco resistance. With the return of democracy to Spain after Franco's death the veterans of the International Brigades got the recognition they deserved. "Brigadista" is a lively, sometimes humorous memoir by a great survivor.
The book provides an incomparable insight into the life of one man and the age he lived in. 'Bob Doyle's life long struggle for freedom and social justice is an inspiration to everyone who wants to see a better world' - Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London. 'Over the past 30 years it has been a privilege to encounter Bob Doyle at various gatherings in London, Dublin and Waterford. I have long admired his zest for life and his willingness to go to any lengths to commemorate his fallen comrades. I am looking forward to reading his memoir' - Christy Moore.