The most recommended Francisco Franco books

Who picked these books? Meet our 4 experts.

4 authors created a book list connected to Francisco Franco, and here are their favorite Francisco Franco books.
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Spain in Arms

By E.R. Hooton,

Book cover of Spain in Arms: A Military History of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Jules Stewart Author Of Madrid: Midnight City

From the list on the Spanish Civil War and its impact on Spain.

Who am I?

I first set foot in Madrid in 1962, when the deep scars of a three-year siege were still very much in evidence. Over the years I have observed it evolve into the most vibrant and fascinating city in Europe. I lived in Madrid for a total of twenty years and after moving to London, I found myself missing it very badly, so much so that I decided to put my enthusiasm to pen and tell the world what a spectacular place it is. The result was three books: Madrid: The History, Madrid: A Literary Companion for Travellers, and the latest, Madrid: Midnight City, co-authored with Helen Crisp, a long-time visitor who shares my enthusiasm for this city perched atop the Castilian plateau. 

Jules' book list on the Spanish Civil War and its impact on Spain

Why did Jules love this book?

The Spanish Civil War ended more than eighty years ago, hence one might assume the people of Spain would have long since buried the ideological discord and personal animosities that tore the country apart in three years of savage fighting. Not so, as the author points out. He looks at the character of the war’s most notorious protagonist, Francisco Franco, described as a ‘‘general of standard ability but given to flights of fancy’. Certainly one of the costliest of these castles in the air was his determination to make short work of his siege of Madrid, which against all the odds, held out heroically to the end.

Hutton identifies the battle of Teruel, fought during the worst Spanish winter in twenty years, as the tipping point of the war. This is one of the four fronts he analyses in detail and with deep perception.

By E.R. Hooton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spain in Arms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spain in Arms is a new military history of the Spanish Civil War. It examines how the Spanish Civil War conflict developed on the battlefield through the prism of eight campaigns between 1937-1939 and shows how many accounts of military operations during this conflict are based upon half-truths and propaganda.

The book is based upon nearly 60 years of extensive research into the Spanish Civil War, augmented by information from specialised German, Italian and Russian works. The Italian campaign against the Basques on the Northern Front in 1937 was one of the most spectacular Nationalist successes of the Civil War,…

Ghosts of Spain

By Giles Tremlett,

Book cover of Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past

Gijs van Hensbergen Author Of Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon

From the list on essential Spain.

Who am I?

A lifetime of an obsession with Spain since a childhood spent on Miro’s farm in Montroig del Camp and just a short walk away from where Gaudi was born I have cooked, researched, battled, and fallen in love with this extraordinary country. Almost 40 years ago I bought a farmhouse in Arevalillo de Cega in the central mountains in Spain from where I have crisscrossed the country in the footsteps of Goya, the culinary genius Ferran Adria and in search of information for my biography on Gaudi – the God of Catalan architecture. Spain is an open book with a million pages, endlessly fascinating, contrary, unique, and 100% absorbing. I fell in deep.

Gijs' book list on essential Spain

Why did Gijs love this book?

As the Guardian correspondent in Madrid, Giles Tremlett’s book is a no-holds-barred deep investigation into the Spanish psyche and recent history and its uncomfortable relationship to the trauma of the Spanish Civil War. It is brave, provocative, deeply-researched but above all immensely readable.

By Giles Tremlett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghosts of Spain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spaniards are reputed to be amongst Europe's most forthright people. So why have they kept silent about the terrors of their Civil War and the rule of General Franco? This apparent 'pact of forgetting' inspired writer Giles Tremlett to embark on a journey around Spain and its history. He found the ghosts of Spain everywhere, almost always arguing. Who caused the Civil War? Why do Basque terrorists kill? Why do Catalans hate Madrid? Did the Islamist bombers who killed 190 people in 2004 dream of a return to Spain's Moorish past? Tremlett's curiosity led him down some strange and colourful…

Spanish Testament

By Arthur Koestler,

Book cover of Spanish Testament

Joan Fallon Author Of Spanish Lavender

From the list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative.

Who am I?

Joan Fallon is a Scottish novelist who has lived in the province of Málaga, in southern Spain, for almost thirty years. She has a great passion for all aspects of Spanish history and culture. While writing a book about the lives of Spanish women after the Civil War, she learned about the unbelievable massacre of thousands of innocent people as they left their homes and fled to Almería in 1937. Women, children and old men were gunned down by cruising gunboats. A historian, teacher and now an author, Joan wanted to know why nobody ever spoke about this tragedy.

Joan's book list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative

Why did Joan love this book?

This book was written in 1937 by a British journalist who was visiting Spain. This was the year that Málaga fell to the Nationalist forces. It is the year that I write about in Spanish Lavender, a love story set in the Spanish Civil War in Málaga. Arthur Koestler arrived in that city when thousands of people were fleeing from the advancing army. His book gives an eye witness account of what it was like there, the military situation, the devastation and the evacuation. He saw it all and wrote about it. Later he was arrested and imprisoned in a Nationalist gaol in Seville and described his experiences. For me it was the most useful book I could have found.

By Arthur Koestler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spanish Testament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Als im Juli 1936 nach einem Generalputsch der Spanische Bürgerkrieg ausbricht, zeigen sich viele Intellektuelle auf der ganzen Welt solidarisch mit der bedrohten Republik. Auch Schriftsteller und Journalist Arthur Koestler reist wenig später als Kriegsberichterstatter nach Spanien. Dort erlebt er die Eroberung Málagas durch die Truppen von General Franco mit. Kurz darauf wird Koestler von faschistischen Putschisten festgenommen und durch ein Standgericht zum Tode verurteilt. Auf seine Hinrichtung wartend, beginnt Koestler, seine Beobachtungen und Gedanken in Ein spanisches Testament niederzuschreiben. Mit seinen autobiografischen Erinnerungen an jene bewegte Zeit ist Koestler das wohl bedeutendste Werk zum Spanischen Bürgerkrieg gelungen. Schriftstellerkollegen wie…

Book cover of The Fountains of Silence

Kerry Chaput Author Of Chasing Eleanor

From Kerry's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author History nerd Introvert Coffee aficionado Adventurer

Kerry's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Kerry love this book?

Ruta Sepetys never disappoints. The Fountains of Silence looks at young love under a Spanish dictatorship in 1957. This is such an unusual setting for historical fiction, and I devoured the book in a weekend. Daniel, the son of an oil tycoon, moves to Madrid and sees his privileged world through the lens of his camera.

He uncovers secrets and falls in love with the hotel maid Ana, whose life is affected in every way by the Spanish Civil War. The wealthy young photographer learns life lessons and bravery from the hardships of Ana’s life, with another rich, layered love story that stayed with me for a long time.

By Ruta Sepetys,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fountains of Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A haunting and romantic novel set in post-war Spain by Ruta Sepetys - winner of the Carnegie Medal 2017.

Madrid, 1957.

Daniel, young, wealthy and unsure of his place in the world, views the city through the lens of his camera.

Ana, a hotel maid whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

Lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city.

A darkness that could engulf them all . . .

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel…

Juan Carlos

By Richard Preston,

Book cover of Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy

Andrew Scott Cooper Author Of The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran

From the list on modern monarchy.

Who am I?

Andrew Scott Cooper, Ph.D., is passionate about researching and writing narrative history books. He holds a doctorate in history, masters degrees in journalism and strategic studies, and his work has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, NPR and MSNBC. Earlier in his career, Andrew worked as a researcher on landmines at the UN and at Human Rights Watch on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Andrew's book list on modern monarchy

Why did Andrew love this book?

Despite the scandals that led to his abdication, King Juan Carlos will go down in history as the courageous architect of Spain’s tightrope transition to democracy. But how exactly did he pull it off? Historian Paul Preston answers that question in his judicious, meticulously researched biography. The author recounts the life story of Juan Carlos, the boy prince whose parents essentially “sold him into slavery” to Francisco Franco in the hope that he would one day restore the House of Bourbon and sow the seeds of Spanish liberal democracy. Against all odds, Juan Carlos succeeded––and so too did the people of Spain.

By Richard Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Juan Carlos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Preston, the author of the definitive biography Franco, explores the political and personal mysteries of the Spanish monarch's life in Juan Carlos, a story of unprecedented sweep and exquisite detail. Handed over to the Franco regime as a young boy, Juan Carlos was raised according to authoritarian traditions designed to make him a cornerstone of the dictatorship. How then did he later emerge as an emphatic defender of the democracy that began to form after Franco's death? In his peerless voice, Preston provides the details necessary to answer this central question, examining the king's troubled relationship with his father…