Franco's Spain

In This Review

Franco's Spain

By Jean Grugel and Tim Rees
Arnold, 1997
206 pp. $19.95

This crisp, masterly volume, written by Grugel, a political scientist, and Rees, a historian, provides a clear and convincing account of the Franco regime. The harsh triumph of the conservative reaction against the short-lived republic, after a dreadful civil war, and under the leadership of the military and the clergy, was followed by a kind of permanent balancing game among the different interests and conceptions represented in this coalition. Franco was a skillful juggler who moved this mix away from the fascism of the Falange toward a more Catholic, conservative, and authoritarian formula. But the regime depended on Franco for its survival and fell apart once the bureaucratic class turned to democratization. The economic and social transformation of the 1960s and 1970s produced an industrializing society with inadequate welfare services, industrial unrest, and corruption that the Francoist state could not contain or control. However, the transition to democracy, according to the authors, has been made more difficult by the legacy of authoritarianism.

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