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The Silence of Others Delve Deeper Reading List

Adult Nonfiction

The Silence of Others reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco as they continue to seek justice four decades into democracy. Filmed over six years, the film follows the survivors organizing the groundbreaking “Argentine Lawsuit” to fight a state-imposed amnesia of crimes against humanity, where the emotional court battle uncovers a country still divided over its fascist history.

Payne Stanley G., and Jesús Palacios. Franco: A Personal and Political Biography. University of Wisconsin Press, 2018.
Franco: A Personal and Political Biography depicts his early life, explains his career and rise to prominence as an army officer who became Europe’s youngest interwar brigadier general in 1926, and then discusses his role in the affairs of the troubled Second Spanish Republic (1931–36). The authors examine in detail how Franco became dictator and how his leadership led to victory in the Spanish Civil War that consolidated his regime. They also explore Franco’s role in the great repression that accompanied the Civil War—resulting in tens of thousands of executions—and examine at length his controversial role in World War II. This masterful biography highlights Franco’s metamorphoses and adaptations to retain power as politics, culture, and economics shifted in the four decades of his dictatorship.

Paul Preston is the world’s foremost historian on twentieth-century Spain. A professor at the London School of Economics, he lives in London. His major works include the three following titles.

Preston, Paul. Franco: A Biography. BasicBooks, 1994.
Preston’s book is considered a definitive biography of the Spanish military leader whose authoritarian rule extended from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 to his death in 1975.

Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, and Revenge.W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.
This surging history recounts the struggles of the 1936 war in which more than 3,000 Americans took up arms. Tracking the emergence of Francisco Franco’s brutal (and, ultimately, extraordinarily durable) fascist dictatorship, Preston assesses the ways in which the Spanish Civil War presaged the Second World War that ensued so rapidly after it.

The attempted social revolution in Spain awakened progressive hopes during the Depression, but the conflict quickly escalated into a new and horrific form of warfare. As Preston shows, the unprecedented levels of brutality were burned into the American consciousness as never before by the revolutionary war reporting of Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Herbert Matthews, Vincent Sheean, Louis Fischer, and many others. Completely revised, including previously unseen material on Franco’s treatment of women in wartime prisons, The Spanish Civil War is a classic work on this pivotal epoch.

Preston, Paul. The Triumph of Democracy in Spain. Methuen, 1986.
The Triumph of Democracy in Spain tells a gripping story of the tortuous creation of Spain’s constitutional monarchy. The book provides an authoritative account of the tribulations of the forces of progress, beginning in 1969 with the disintegration of Franco’s dictatorship and ending with the remarkable Socialist election victory in 1982.

Shulman, Aaron. The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War. HarperCollins, 2019.
A gripping narrative history of Spain’s most brilliant and troubled literary family—a tale about the making of art, myth, and legacy—set against the upheaval of the Spanish Civil War and beyond In this absorbing and atmospheric historical narrative, journalist Aaron Shulman takes us deeply into the circumstances surrounding the Spanish Civil War through the lives, loves, and poetry of the Paneros, Spain’s most compelling and eccentric family, whose lives intersected memorably with many of the most storied figures in the art, literature, and politics of the time—from Neruda to Salvador Dalí, from Ava Gardner to Pablo Picasso to Roberto Bolaño.

Tusell, Javier. Spain: From Dictatorship to Democracy. Wiley, 2007.
This comprehensive survey of Spain’s history looks at the major political, social, and economic changes that took place from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

About the authors

Matt Pettit

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library