One of the best books in English on Franco's rule, and Gallo's own best book to date, this begins with an excellent summary of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath of a half million prisoners, epidemics of hunger, disease, and police. The theme is Franco's consolidation of power -- in hindsight, it seems natural that he lasted so long. But Gallo examines the real and felt threats to his unabated rule, brilliantly tracing how Franco played off the Falange, the Opus Dei, and the Monarchists while -- unlike Mussolini -- maintaining a cool pragmatic foreign policy. His World War II push for an Allied-German bloc against Soviet successes was soon vindicated by the Cold War. In between, Gallo says, the French-based partisans scared him, and so did the possibility of the democratic governments' intervention against his dictatorship. But when the United Nations did nothing and the U.S. began to send love and money, the 1950's consolidation of power, and a species of economic development, could begin. Though most Spaniards, still blindingly poor, lived from day to day, spurts of resistance began, especially when inflation got out of control. The 1960's saw remarkably brave, though impotent, ferment; Gallo, himself some sort of leftist, is especially biting about the Communist Party's strategies, while rather uncritical of Basque and Catalan nationalism. The book ends in 1969 with the expectation that Francoism will prevail. An exceptionally informative study of a subject still little understood. By comparison, Brian Crozier's Franco (1967) and George Hills' Franco (1967) seem like slight exercises in evasion.