Told for the first time in English, Paul Preston’s new book tells the story of a preventable tragedy that cost many thousands of lives and ruined tens of thousands more at the end of the Spanish Civil War.
This is the story of an avoidable humanitarian tragedy that cost many thousands of lives and ruined tens of thousands more.
On 5 March 1939, the eternally malcontent Colonel Segismundo Casado launched a military coup against the government of Juan Negrín. To fulfil his ambition to go down in history as the man who ended the Spanish Civil War, he claimed that Negrín was the puppet of Moscow and that a coup was imminent to establish a Communist dictatorship. Instead his action ensured the Republic ended in catastrophe and shame.
Paul Preston, the leading historian of twentieth-century Spain, tells this shocking story for the first time in English. It is a harrowing tale of how the flawed decisions of politicans can lead to tragedy.
A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year
‘Preston's mission in life is to bring clarity to the confusing tragedy of the Spanish Civil War. This is his twelfth book on the war and its legacy … [it] is written with the same sober lucidity that distinguishes the previous eleven’ The Times
‘Compelling and convincingly argued ….the story of the final, tragic days of the Spanish Republic has never been told so clearly before. With a keen eye for historical detail and a painful sense of the human lives at stake, Preston paints a vivid portrait of those involved’ Spectator
‘Masterly and intensely moving … in Preston, author of several award-winning books on the conflict, the reader could not hope for a more sure-footed guide … Britons today know far less than they should about the Spanish Civil War … our knowledge would be poorer still but for Preston's indefatigable scholarship, elegant prose and impeccable judgement’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Scholarly and authoritative’ Literary Review
About the author
SIR PAUL PRESTON CBE is Professor of Contemporary Spanish History at the London School of Economics and was previously a lecturer at the University of Reading and Professor of Modern History at Queen Mary University London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and holds the Marcel Proust Chair of the European Academy of Yuste. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by universities in Spain and the UK. In 2006, he was awarded the International Ramon Llull Prize by the Catalan Government and, in 2018, the Guernica Peace Prize. Among his many works are Franco: A Biography, Comrades, Doves of War: Four Women of Spain, Juan Carlos, The Spanish Civil War, The Spanish Holocaust, The Last Stalinist, The Last Days of the Spanish Republic and A People Betrayed. In Spain, he was appointed a Comendador de la Orden del Mérito Civil in 1986 and awarded, in 2007, the Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica. He lives in London.