The Morning Star for April 20th 2015 carries a review of ‘No Other Way: Oxfordshire and the Spanish Civil War 1936-39’ by Chris Farman, Valery Rose and Liz Woolley (Oxford IBMC, £8)
Their reviewer writes, ‘The authors do not court controversy — the much disputed role of George Orwell is dealt with sparsely. And it’s disappointing that only a little more than a third of the subjects were individually identified in the book as Communist Party members and its role comes across generally muted.’
Is the petulance of this reviewer what one finds in the members of the IBMT? No. Quentin Kopp of the Orwell Society notes: ‘This CP attitude, is certainly not shared by the key figures in the IBMT. They made us very welcome at the specific event 3 years ago, when they focused their Len Crome lectures on the 75th Anniversary of ‘Homage To Catalonia’.
‘Since then we have built a firm relationship with them and we have attended the subsequent events and have at their invitation taken a table in the exhibition space to promote the OS.
‘The only person, due to speak at the 75th commemoration event, who took the old line was Paul Preston. His essay was read for him, because he was unable to attend due to his own and his wife’s illness. He produced the old “straw man” that Orwell claimed to speak with authority on the whole Civil War. In fact as we know, Orwell very specifically says in ‘Homage…’ that his work is confined to the specific places and events he saw himself, including of course the CP treatment of my Father, Georges Kopp.’
The book itself seems interesting and is available at £8, including p&p, from IBMT, 6 Stonells Road, London SW11 6HQ.