As the Ottawa Citizen reports the death last week of the last surviving member of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, the memoir of another Mac-Pap, Ronald Liversedge, is published by New Star Books. Liversedge wrote Mac-Pap: Memoir of a Canadian in The Spanish Civil War in the 1960s, but his book remained unpublished at the time of his death in 1974. Avocational labour historian David Yorke obtained a copy of Liversedge’s manuscript, and saw it through to publication at last.
When the Franco’s fascist army attacked the infant Spanish republic in its cradle in 1937, Liversedge was no longer a young man. A twice wounded World War I veteran who had immigrated to Canada from his native England in 1927, Liversedge identified with the Spanish republicans, and was eager to enlist on their side. Despite his age, late 30s, his application to join the International Brigades was accepted, and in May 1937 Liversedge was on his way to Spain.
Mac-Pap is the story of his harrowing journey into Spain and the field of conflict, and of his experiences in the battles around Huesca, Fuentes de Ebro, Teruel, and the long retreat through Valencia. Liversedge’s age kept him out of the hottest frontline action, but his stories of behind-the-lines life in the Mac-Pap Battalion are every bit as revealing and fascinating.
David Yorke, who obtained a copy of the manuscript from Liversedge, negotiated the obstacles that had kept it from publication when it was written, and has added an introduction, a selection of photographs, and fifty pages of notes illuminating the many references to persons and place names that would be mysterious to today’s reader.
Mac-Pap is available from Audrey’s Books, Another Story, Black Bond Books, The Bookmark (Charlottetown & Halifax), Books on Beechwood, Bryan Prince Booksellers, Librairie Clio, Laughing Oyster Bookshop, McNally Robinson, A Novel Idea, Octopus Books, People’s Co-op Bookstore, Spartacus Books, Turning the Tide, Chapters, Indigo, Amazon.ca, Indigo.ca, and our very own website.