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A People Betrayed: A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain 1874-2018

Paul Preston

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Harper Collins
11 March 2020
History; European history; Politics & government
From the foremost historian of modern Spain comes the bloody, much misunderstood story of how, from 1874 to the present day the Spanish people were devastatingly betrayed by their political class, military and Church.

This comprehensive history of modern Spain chronicles the fomenting of violent social division throughout the country by institutionalised corruption and startling political incompetence. Most spectacularly during the Primo de Rivera and Franco dictatorships, grotesque and shameless corruption went hand-in-hand with inept policies that prolonged Spain's economic backwardness well into the 1950s.

A People Betrayed looks back to the years prior to 1923 when electoral corruption excluded the masses from organized politics and gave them a choice between apathetic acceptance and violent revolution. Bitter social conflict, economic tensions and conflict between centralist nationalism and regional independence movements then exploded into the civil war of 1936-1939.

It took the horrors of that war and the dictatorship that followed to break the pattern. The moderation shared by the progressive right and a chastened left underlay a bloodless transition to democracy after 1975. Yet, as before, corruption and political incompetence continued to have a corrosive effect on political coexistence and social cohesion.

Sparkling with vivid portraits of politicians and army officers, some corrupt and others clean, recounting the triumphs and disasters of Kings Alfonso XIII and Juan Carlos, A People Betrayed unravels the mystery of why both right and left have been unable or unwilling to deal with corruption and the pernicious clash between Spanish centralist nationalism and regional desires for independence.
By:   Paul Preston
Imprint:   Harper Collins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 159mm,  Spine: 50mm
Weight:   1.110kg
ISBN:   9780007558377
ISBN 10:   0007558376
Pages:   416
Publication Date:   11 March 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Paul Preston CBE is Principe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish History and Director of the Canada Blanch Centre of Contemporary Spanish Studies at LSE. He was lecturer at the University of Reading and Professor of History at Queen Mary University. In 2006 he was awarded the International Ramon Llull Prize by the Catalan Government. Among his many works are 'The Triumph of Democracy in Spain' (1986), 'Franco: A Biography' (1993), 'A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War' (1996), 'Comrades' (1999), 'Doves of War: Four Women in Spain' (2002), 'Juan Carlos' (2004) and 'The Spanish Civil War' (2006). He was decorated by Spanish King Juan Carlos a 'Comendador de la Orden de Merito Civil' and in 2007, the 'Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Catolica'.

Reviews for A People Betrayed: A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain 1874-2018

Praise for A People Betrayed 'Fascinating ... The depth of the book's research cannot be faulted and the examples of grand malfeasance and political corruption are extraordinary ... Buried in the narrative lies ample treasure ... I applauded Preston's heroic feat.' Times 'Tremendously rich and learned ... Preston is one of Britain's finest historians ... This book, massively researched ... Powerful, persuasive and utterly fascinating - makes for harrowing reading' Sunday Times 'A magisterial study of [Spain's] turbulent past, seen through the optic of those apparently ineradicable twins: corruption and political incompetence ... Races along in a riveting fashion, replete with eye-catching and often blackly humorous anecdotes ...Preston's narrative combines his gift for cogent, summarising clarity and for telling details ...Preston has written an admirable book - a lively, comprehensive history of modern Spain.' Guardian 'The work of a very great historian who knows all there is to know about his often sanguinary subject and who, beyond that, can impart his knowledge in swift muscular prose. His bias towards the underdog is humane and tonic' Daily Telegraph 'The scope of the narrative and the obvious depth of research are impressive. Likely to be the go-to history of modern Spain for many years to come.' Kirkus Reviews


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