If you’re expecting gripping biography, or if you’re expecting dark tales of secret police and disappearances Franco by Enrique Moradiellos is likely not for you. However, if you’re looking for a historic account of one of the world’s longest serving leaders/dictators from 1900 to the present day (number 10 if you’re interested) then that’s a different thing, and Franco – Anatomy of a Dictator may well be just what you are looking for. It’s packed with facts, lots of them (40 pages of notes accompany the index and further reading at the back of the boo are testimony to that).
If there’s one man in Spain you can’t avoid (no matter how hard you try to avoid him) it’s the Generalissimo; traces of him lie in almost all aspects of the country. Be that in modern politics and culture, in the architecture and infrastructure, continued undercurrents related to the Civil War, or in something as seemingly inconsequential as the Menú del Día (as anecdotally believed by many to have been invented by him).
Franco by Enrique Moradiellos is not a roller coaster ride as I’ve already said, but what I feel it is is a truly objective account of the man who dominated Spain for decades.
If you’re aware of Paul Preston (as almost anyone with a passing interest in Spanish should be) here’s his cover note:
“Enrique Moradiellos is one of the most distinguished historians of twentieth-century Spain. For a concise and lucid account of Franco, the man and his dictatorship, it would be difficult to improve on his balanced and learned account.” Paul Preston
Separated into three sections: ‘The Man’, ‘The Caudillo’, and ‘The Regime’ (written from slightly different perspectives) chronicle the life, military and political careers, and the important figures and events surrounding his time in power.
To my mind this is an excellent, factual and unbiased academic work and well worth a read to anyone looking for an accurate account of one of the biggest names in the entire history of Spain; undoubtedly its biggest figure in modern history.
A must read for Spanish history buffs, and I imagine a soon to be an academic text book for those studying Spanish history in the future.