The Last Mile to Huesca:
An Australian Nurse in the Spanish Civil War

Judith Keene

University of New South Wales Press 1988
A book review by Danny Yee © 1994 http://dannyreviews.com/
Agnes Hodgson was an Australian nurse who travelled to Spain and served on the Aragon front during the Spanish civil war. The Last Mile to Huesca contains her diary together with notes and introductory material by Judith Keene. The diary covers Agnes' voyage to Spain with three other Australian nurses, her experiences in France and Barcelona on the way to the front, and the daily events of her work at various front-line hospitals. Judith Keene's introduction provides a brief summary of the Spanish Civil War and an account of the response to the war in Australia.

The diary itself is not really that exciting, and those in search of an adventure story should look elsewhere. (The competition from works such as George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia is also pretty strong.) But it will be of great interest to those studying aspects of the Civil War such as the role of Republican volunteers and the quality of medical support, as well as useful background for more general events in Catalonia and Aragon; in some ways the political naivete of the writer makes her evidence more useful. Keene's summary of the war is standard stuff, but her description of its significance for Australian politics is, I think, original, and should tempt anyone interested in the history of left-wing politics in Australia or of relationships between Spain and Australia.

April 1994

Related reviews:
- books about Australia + Australian history
- books about Spain + Spanish history
- more diaries + autobiography
- books about war + military history
- books published by University of New South Wales Press
%T The Last Mile to Huesca
%S An Australian Nurse in the Spanish Civil War
%A Keene, Judith
%I University of New South Wales Press
%D 1988
%O paperback, references, index
%G ISBN 0868403385
%P xvi,178pp,12pp b&w photos