Gr 7 Up-- Clarity, economy, extensive scholarship, and an intense passion for the subject characterize Lawson's outstanding account of Americans who participated in the Spanish Civil War ``to save Spanish democracy.'' Some 3000 Americans fought on the Loyalist, or Republican, side against Franco's Rebels, or Fascist Nationalists, between January 1937 and September 1938. Lawson notes that although many of the volunteers were members of the American Communist Party or were popuchiki (i.e., fellow travelers with the Party line), all were idealists willing to fight and die for their beliefs in freedom and democracy. Lengthy coverage is given to Robert Hale Merriman, a fascinating young man who led the Brigade, and his wife Marion, the Brigade's only female member. Merriman was the model for Robert Jordan, the hero of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls . Lawson also succinctly examines Spanish history prior to the Civil War, delineates how this rehearsal for World War II began, and tells who the participants were. He goes on to discuss the major battles and campaigns in which the Abraham Lincoln Brigade took part. He does not slight the presence and importance of such personalities as Loyalist leader ``La Pasionaria'' Dolores Ibarurri and writers John Dos Passos, Vincent Sheean, Ernest Hemingway, and Martha Gellhorn. Although some readers may disagree with Lawson's conclusion that Spain could never have become a Communist dictatorship if the loyalists had won, the work is important. It is illustrated with a map and contemporary photographs. --David A. Lindsey, Lakewood Junior/Senior High School, Wash.