CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 20 . . . . June 8, 2001
"The fascists are advancing from Zaragoza. We must stop them. We must build an army. We are fighting a war and having a revolution at the same time. It is not easy. I wish to go and fight with the militia, but my father, he is not so happy that I do that. Will Canada help us?"Ted was very happy to accompany his parents on a trip to Europe during the summer of 1936. He was looking forward to attending a bullfight in Spain when news broke out about the developing Spanish Civil War. Ted's father, Will, a pacifist determined to spread the news about Spain's troubles to Canada, leaves Ted and his mother to return to Canada while he travels further into Spain to investigate the conflict. When Ted's mother is unable to regain consciousness after receiving a head injury in a riot, Ted is forced to follow his father's path to obtain help. A young Spaniard, Dolores, befriends Ted and accompanies him into the countryside in an increasingly dangerous journey.
Wilson has written a fast-moving and informative novel. The main characters are fully realized and propel the plot which is written in such a fashion as to follow the early main events of the Spanish Civil War without ever falling into a history lesson. Introducing foreigners to the events of the War allows for an introduction to the events leading up to the war as part of the story. Minor characters are presented in vivid episodes that help to move the plot along to the conclusion which reflects the physical and emotional dangers of war. Wilson's novel covers a relatively unknown subject in historical novels and would be a good choice for any student interested in history.
Betsy Fraser is a librarian with Calgary Public Library.
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