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A People Betrayed

A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain 1874-2018
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 29 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Summary

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 organised 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.

©2020 Paul Preston (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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Almost ruined by the narration

It's an excellent book that fills in the gaps between semana tràgica and the civil war and then on to the present day. The preface mentions Brexit as a similar instance of social disparity, incompetence and corruption which would resonate with a British audience. I've been struggling with this book for months as after work I'm often too tired to read, so the audio book is an ideal solution, I listen as I work.
However, the narration is ruining it. Why couldn't they get a narrator who speaks Spanish? Juan and Joachim are pronounced as a hard "h", not a "J", I really could go on and on but don't wish to be any more unkind than I have.

1 person found this helpful

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A history of corruption in modern Spain

Dr. Preston (as he was then) was one of my History tutors at Queen Mary College, London University in the late 1970s. His left-wing sympathies were self-evident and never hidden! That being said, everything he writes here is perfectly true - you just have to remember that his sympathies are clearly with the Left in Spain. This book is not really for the general reader but for those who have a deep interest in Spanish history. Be warned: there are scores and scores of acronyms - PSUC, ICE, POUM, PSOE, PCE - the list is almost endless! The most interesting sections of the book for me were those which dealt with the corruption of Franco and his family. After listening to this, I do recommend his biographies of Franco and King Juan Carlos.

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Depressing yet fascinating

A great listen, this was very well read. Quite a depressing book but interesting nonetheless, I don't understand how people who steal from the public purse can live with themselves, let's hope Spain, and other countries, can get to drips with this huge issue.

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Shocking History

Detailed history, well read. Milliibs of lives were a misery while the rich got richer and didn't care.

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An eye-opener

In many respects deeply depressing. Corruption and incompetence now as in 1870 plus Franco legacy