FRANCO: A Biography by J.P. Fusi

FRANCO: A Biography

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Originally published in Spain in 1985, this biography offers some new perspectives on the Caudillo's reign, which spanned four decades. The author is the director of the Spanish National Library and co-author of Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy (1981). Most previous biographies of Franco have been heavily slanted against the dictator (Amodia's Franco's Political Legacy; Yglesias' The Franco Years, etc.). Fusi's is a much more balanced view-yet not an uncritical one. Fusi glosses over Franco's youth--by page three, Franco is in his 30s--but there is considerable examination of Franco's impressionable years as a soldier and officer in Spain's African colonies (an experience that ""gathered the scattered fragments of army morale in a fist clenched and raised for the punch,"" a punch that came with the Spanish Civil War). It was with that war against the Second Republic that Franco's clericalist and reactionary tendencies surfaced. Gathering together a blend of Falangists (""phalanx,"" authoritarian nationalists akin to Fascists), Carlists (Catholic monarchists), and army malcontents, Franco--whom most leaders found to be uninspiring and unimpressive in person--managed to grasp power from amid a bevy of rebellious generals. He never relinquished it during a reign that, Fusi argues, was driven not by any political ideals, but by a drive for personal control--as well as by a fear that he was the only person who understood that Spain unfettered would always fall victim to a slew of demons, such as the spirit of anarchy, carping criticism, lack of ""fellow-feeling,"" extremism, and internecine hatred. Indeed, Fusi emphasizes that Franco never referred to his supporters as a ""party,"" but rather as a ""movement."" Ultimately, Fusi concludes that Franco's reputation will suffer historically because of a lack of moral legitimacy in an age imbued with the spirit of democracy. Solid political analysis of a shadowy character, straight from the source.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Harper & Row