Narrated By: Peter Noble
Duration: 1 day, 5 hours and 16 minutes
What to expect
From the foremost historian of 20th century Spain, A People Betrayed is the story of the devastating betrayal of Spain by its political class, its military and its 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.
Politics & government, European history
Listen to a sample
Praise for A People Betrayed
A Financial Times Best History Book of 2020
‘For decades, Paul Preston has been one of the English-speaking world’s premier historians of modern Spain. His latest book, dealing with the controversial topic of corruption in Spanish politic, public administration and business, is particularly good on the Franco dictatorship and post-Franco democratic era’
‘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’
‘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.’
‘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.’