Author:  Nigel Townson
ISBN: 9781837644056
Format: Paperback
Extent: 256 pp
Price:  £29.99
Publication: November 2023
Publisher: Liverpool University Press

A Comparative Look at the 19th and 20th Centuries

The slogan that launched the tourist industry in the 1960s, Spain is different, has come to haunt historians. Much effort and energy have been expended ever since in endeavouring to show that Spain has not been different, but normal. Still, many of the defining features of the country’s past – the civil wars, the weak liberalism, the Franco dictatorship – are taken as evidence of its distinctiveness. A related problem is that few historians have actually placed Spain’s trajectory over the last two centuries within a truly comparative context.

This book does so by tackling a number of key themes in modern Spanish history: liberalism, nationalism, anticlericalism, the Second Republic, the Franco dictatorship and the transition to democracy. Is Spain Different? thereby offers a fresh and stimulating perspective on Spain’s recent past that is not only of interest to students of Spanish and European history alike, but also sheds new light on the current political debates regarding Spain’s place in the world.

Contributors to this volume include: José Álvarez Junco (Universidad Complutense, Madrid); María Cruz Romeo (University of Valencia); Edward Malefakis (Columbia University, New York); and Pamela Radcliff (University of California, San Diego).

Analytically the most intelligent book to come out of Spain in recent years. Stanley Payne, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Compiled and edited by Nigel Townson this collection of essays is as good an introduction to thepast 200 years of Spanish history as could be hoped for. What is refreshing about this volume is that it scrapes away at ingrained mythologies and on the whole exhibits a genuinely balanced view ofevents, deeds and leading characters. Its comparative approach is intrinsic to this success,taking us out of local arguments and into a broader domain. Spain is different in many ways; this book is also different, in very many good ways. Volume XCIV, Issue no. 9, November 2017, of the Bulletin of Spanish Studies