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More recent history of Spain - Book recommendations

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legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
Can anyone recommend a good book to give me a background to Franco's rule and more recent Spanish history please?

Having travelled in the Middle East and also to Sarajevo and other places where conflict is within living memory I know that what we may read about and consider history is actually still the lived experience of people we may meet and not totally the past. I'd like to have an idea of what happened and how it was before I go, if that makes sense but this is an area I've never read about.

Apologies if I've missed a thread on this, I've had a good look but haven't spotted any.

Jo
 
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SabsP

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Can anyone recommend a good book to give me a background to Franco's rule and more recent Spanish history please?

Having travelled in the Middle East and also to Sarajevo and other places where conflict is within living memory I know that what we may read about and consider history is actually still the lived experience of people we may meet and not totally the past. I'd like to have an idea of what happened and how it was before I go, if that makes sense but this is an area I've never read about.

Apologies if I've missed a thread on this, I've had a good look but haven't spotted any.

Jo


Always a bit hesitant when talking about politcs here seeing the forumrules are clear.

But I can recommend Adam Hochschilds " Spain in our Hearts "

Feel free to pm me for more recommendations.
 
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legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
Awlays a bit hesitant when talking about politcvs here seeing the forumrules are clear.

But I can recommend Adam Hochschilds " Spain in our Hearts "

Feel free to pm me for more recommendations.
Thank you. This indicates how clueless I am!
 

Marc S.

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My suggestions would be:

Giles Tremlett: Ghosts of Spain. Travels through a country's hidden past.

Jeremy Treglown: Franco's crypt. Spanish culture and memory since 1936.

I enjoyed both of these books very much and they helped me understand Spain a bit better (at least I'd like to think so)
 
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legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
My suggestions would be:

Giles Tremlett: Ghosts of Spain. Travel through a country's hidden past.

Jeremy Treglown: Franco's crypt. Spanish culture and memory since 1936.

I enjoyed both of these books very much and they helped me understand Spain a bit better (at least I'd like to think so)
Thank you.
 
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SabsP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Paul Preston is also worthwile.


And this novel about the Basque situation by Fernando Aramburu.

 

legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
Paul Preston is also worthwile.


And this novel about the Basque situation by Fernando Aramburu.

Thank you
 

C clearly

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Paul Preston is very comprehensive. I have listened to the whole audiobook and learned a lot - especially in the post-Franco chapters which help my understanding of more recent influences and events.

However, it is very dense with fact that doesn't stick in my brain from audio, so I now have a paper copy from the library, in order to re-read the 1930s. If I were really serious about studying this, I'd probably also get a kindle version so that I could search.

It really is that fascinating and complicated!
 

legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
Paul Preston is very comprehensive. I have listened to the whole audiobook and learned a lot - especially in the post-Franco chapters which help my understanding of more recent influences and events.

However, it is very dense with fact that doesn't stick in my brain from audio, so I now have a paper copy from the library, in order to re-read the 1930s. If I were really serious about studying this, I'd probably also get a kindle version so that I could search.

It really is that fascinating and complicated!
Thank you!
 
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David Tallan

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Some of the books sitting in my "to read" pile (picked them up recently at a used book store) are:
Spain by Jan Morris
The New Spaniards by John Hooper
Spain in Mind: an Anthology edited by Alice Leicester Powers

I can't speak to how good they are because they are still "to read" rather than "already read", but they looked decent enough to buy at second-hand book prices. :)
 

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My husband just finished reading,”Homage to Catalonia” by George Orwell. He thought it was very good.
 

henrythedog

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Many in the past and, God willing; more to come
Laurie Lees ‘as I walked out one midsummer morning’ gives a foreigners perspective of the civil war period, although his personal participation should be filed under fiction as opposed to documentary.

Anthony Beevors logically titled ‘the Spanish civil war’ gives a comprehensive view of how fragmented and complicated Spanish politics were in the 1930s and helps explain why it remains so factional and regional now.

For more recent times, I’m interested in the recommendations.
 

legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
Thank you. I've downloaded the Paul Preston audiobook to start with. My job is stacking shelves overnight in a supermarket so this should keep me occupied while I work. I'll take this list to the local second hand book shops (any excuse!) as well.
 
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My suggestions would be:

Giles Tremlett: Ghosts of Spain. Travels through a country's hidden past.

Jeremy Treglown: Franco's crypt. Spanish culture and memory since 1936.

I enjoyed both of these books very much and they helped me understand Spain a bit better (at least I'd like to think so)
My first recommendation would also be Ghosts of Spain. The perspective is very different from scholarly history.
 

Anamiri

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I am currently reading Jason Webster's "Violencia - a New History of Spain". I'm only half way through at this stage and not up to the 20th century yet, but he has an easy to read and engaging style that I enjoy.
He has written a series of detective novels set in Spain as well that I found really good, got one by accident and then ordered all the others. They give a good understanding of what living in Spain is like.
 

BarbaraW

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2019, 2022 (Frances from Roncesvalles)
An easy way into the history is to read a well-researched historical novel. I'd suggest The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh, a British writer who lives in Spain and has interviewed many Spaniards who lived through the aftermath of the Civil War. The Frozen Heart by Almudena Grandes (described as the Spanish Maggie O'Farrell) is also recommended.
 

TallSimon

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My suggestions would be:

Giles Tremlett: Ghosts of Spain. Travels through a country's hidden past.

Jeremy Treglown: Franco's crypt. Spanish culture and memory since 1936.

I enjoyed both of these books very much and they helped me understand Spain a bit better (at least I'd like to think so)
I have a copy of Ghosts of Spain, by Giles Tremlet, I would reccommend.
 
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My two favorite histories of Spain are: A Brief History of Spain by Jeremy Black, 2019, and The Story of Spain, The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country, by Mark R. Williams. 2009. Both easy and delightful reading. If only reading one, then the newer one. Buen Camino
 
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I always recommend Giles Tremlett as a good and readable basic -- in the sense of providing a good base for further reading -- text. Along with a potted history, it examines the situation of memory and remembrance, a very current issue in Spanish life, and then gives a review of life in Spain-- how the medical system works, etc. As we walk along through these towns and pueblos, we will have a better understanding of the (pre-pandemic) challenges which ordinary Spaniards face.

Hugh Thomas' The Spanish Civil War is now in its 4th edition. Written to be read, rather than pored over by academics, this doorstopper will tell you everything you ever needed to know about the Civil War. My Spanish friends tell me that this is their go-to serious book, one of them admitting that they trust an outsider's well-reseached and sympathetic perspective over a domestic one. It was my introduction to Spanish history and I have a well-thumbed copy of the 2d edition on my shelf.

If you want something lighter, Rebecca Pawel's Death of a Nationalist is a good policier set in the early years of Franco's régime. Two of my Spanish historian friends recommen it as giving a very accurate flavour of life at that time. We often encounter writers who spend a few months in a country and then feel comfortable in writing a novel set in its history-- the results are almost always awful but Rebecca Pawel's Lt Tejada series is the exception to the rule, and are well worth the read.
 

tpmchugh

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2018
Can anyone recommend a good book to give me a background to Franco's rule and more recent Spanish history please?

Having travelled in the Middle East and also to Sarajevo and other places where conflict is within living memory I know that what we may read about and consider history is actually still the lived experience of people we may meet and not totally the past. I'd like to have an idea of what happened and how it was before I go, if that makes sense but this is an area I've never read about.

Apologies if I've missed a thread on this, I've had a good look but haven't spotted any.

Jo
I could never recommend a good book on that period. It gets into a grey area of forum non political rules. One mans truth is another mans falsehood so I tend to stay out. Just go to your local library and see what they have and make your own mind up about what is good and what is not. To quote the Grinch, one mans toxic soup is another mans pot pourri.
 

irishwalker

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There is currently a five part series on Netflix 'Franco: The Brutal Truth about Spain's Dictator'
It is very good and gives an in-depth history of the civil war and the reign of Franco up to his
death in the 70's. The archive footage from that period is excellent. I have watched it a couple of
times, so as try and absorb the level of detail.

 
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I always recommend Giles Tremlett as a good and readable basic -- in the sense of providing a good base for further reading -- text. Along with a potted history, it examines the situation of memory and remembrance, a very current issue in Spanish life, and then gives a review of life in Spain-- how the medical system works, etc. As we walk along through these towns and pueblos, we will have a better understanding of the (pre-pandemic) challenges which ordinary Spaniards face.

Hugh Thomas' The Spanish Civil War is now in its 4th edition. Written to be read, rather than pored over by academics, this doorstopper will tell you everything you ever needed to know about the Civil War. My Spanish friends tell me that this is their go-to serious book, one of them admitting that they trust an outsider's well-reseached and sympathetic perspective over a domestic one. It was my introduction to Spanish history and I have a well-thumbed copy of the 2d edition on my shelf.

If you want something lighter, Rebecca Pawel's Death of a Nationalist is a good policier set in the early years of Franco's régime. Two of my Spanish historian friends recommen it as giving a very accurate flavour of life at that time. We often encounter writers who spend a few months in a country and then feel comfortable in writing a novel set in its history-- the results are almost always awful but Rebecca Pawel's Lt Tejada series is the exception to the rule, and are well worth the read.
have always been a great fan of Hugh Thomas.

Samarkand.
 

celticone

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Can anyone recommend a good book to give me a background to Franco's rule and more recent Spanish history please?

Having travelled in the Middle East and also to Sarajevo and other places where conflict is within living memory I know that what we may read about and consider history is actually still the lived experience of people we may meet and not totally the past. I'd like to have an idea of what happened and how it was before I go, if that makes sense but this is an area I've never read about.

Apologies if I've missed a thread on this, I've had a good look but haven't spotted any.

Jo
Hello,
I add to the recommendations for 'Ghosts of Spain'. Try to get the most recent edition, if possible.

Also I suggest 'No Pasarán: Writings from the Spanish Civil War', edited by Pete Aryton. 38 pieces of writing, most translated, but including e.g. George Orwell and John Dos Pasos.
And 'Spain 1812-1996' Modern History for Modern Languages. The last half of this covers 1936 to 1996.

I found all these interesting and they enriched my Caminos.

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Timwalks

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There is currently a five part series on Netflix 'Franco: The Brutal Truth about Spain's Dictator'
It is very good and gives an in-depth history of the civil war and the reign of Franco up to his
death in the 70's. The archive footage from that period is excellent. I have watched it a couple of
times, so as try and absorb the level of detail.

Thank for the heads up on that documentary Irishwalker. It looks very good. Right now, it is available on Netflix in the UK but not the U.S., FYI. Perhaps soon ...
 

Richard Smith

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Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
II recently finished reading Antony Beevor's "The Battle for Spain, Spanish Civil War 1936-1939".
I found it answered lot of questions I had.
 

legless

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Camino Frances March-April 2022. Portuguese 2023!
I could never recommend a good book on that period. It gets into a grey area of forum non political rules. One mans truth is another mans falsehood so I tend to stay out. Just go to your local library and see what they have and make your own mind up about what is good and what is not. To quote the Grinch, one mans toxic soup is another mans pot pourri.
I'm a politician, I get that.
 

PeteD

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2016
2023
My suggestions would be:

Giles Tremlett: Ghosts of Spain. Travels through a country's hidden past.

Jeremy Treglown: Franco's crypt. Spanish culture and memory since 1936.

I enjoyed both of these books very much and they helped me understand Spain a bit better (at least I'd like to think so)
I'm slowly reading Giles Tremlett's The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War which was published in 2020. So far it's great if very detailed. At 720 pages it might be a long time before I could provide a review of the whole book 😄
My interest in knowing more about this complex and sad time in Spain was in a large part created by stopping at the Monumento de los Caidos in the hills past Villafranca Montes de Oca. I was shocked to relise that this tragedy was within living memory and still a sadness that seems to linger in that place.

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