Franco by Enrique Moradiellos review – the dictator and the future of Spain

A biography of the ‘Caudillo’ argues that his influence can still be felt in the modern Spain, and is at the root of serious political problems

“In Spain, the dead are more alive than in any other country in the world,” the poet Federico García Lorca said in 1933, their “profile cuts like the edge of a barber’s blade”. More than 40 years have passed since the death of Francisco Franco, but in this new English-language biography, Enrique Moradiellos argues that the dictator remains “an uncomfortable spectre from the past”.

Franco made his name in Spain’s dirty colonial war in 1920s Morocco; the conservative army was seething at its lost global empire and social changes back home. Modern culture and fledgling democracy were anathema to traditionalists longing for a past golden age, convinced of a “universal Judaeo-Masonic-Bolshevik conspiracy against Spain and the Catholic faith”. Franco thought that a century of liberal reform and culture had ...