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Paul Preston (born 1946 in Liverpool) is a British historian and Hispanist, specialized in Spanish history, in particular the Spanish Civil War, which he has studied for more than 30 years. He is currently based at the London School of Economics, but is a frequent visitor to Spain, where his work appears in Spanish.

He speaks Spanish fluently.[1] He also speaks Catalan and has been awarded Catalonia's Ramon Llull International Prize (2005) for supporting the return of the Salamanca Papers.

He describes the final victory of Francisco Franco's troops as "an international war that happened in Spanish fields, that wasn't decided in Spain but in the hands of the great powers.", going on to add that "the presence of Italy in Spain wasn't by accident, as one could consider the German troops, but it must be understood as a non-formal declaration of war from Italy to the Republican Government."

He has produced an authoritative biography of Franco (Basic Books, 1994). Preston is quoted as saying that "Franco wasn't a fascist, but something much worse, as he brought the African mentality of repression and coldness, and treated the Spanish the same way as the natives of Morocco."

He has also published a biography of King Juan Carlos I (2003) and more recently books on the subject of foreign correspondents who reported on the Spanish Civil War and Franco's control of his generals.



Professor Preston is a fan of Everton Football Club.[2]


  • Paul Preston (2008). We saw Spain die: foreign correspondents in the Spanish Civil War. London, UK: Constable and Robinson. ISBN 978184529851.  
  • Paul Preston (2006). The Spanish Civil War: reaction, revolution and revenge. London, UK: Harper Perennial. ISBN 9780007232079.  
  • Paul Preston (2004). Juan Carlos: steering Spain from dictatorship to democracy. London: W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0393058042.  
  • Paul Preston (2004). Juan Carlos: a people's king. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780002556323.  
  • Paul Preston (2002). Doves of war: four women of Spain. London, UK: Harper Collins. ISBN 9780002556330.  
  • Paul Preston (2001). Revolution and war in Spain, 1931-1939. Routledge. ISBN 9780415098946.  
  • Paul Preston (1999). ¡Comrades! portraits from the Spanish civil war. London, UK: HarperCollins. ISBN 0002556359.  
  • Paul Preston (1995). Franco: a biography. London, UK: Fontana Press. ISBN 9780006862109.  


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