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The Trials and Triumphs of a Modern European Country

Michael Reid

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An incisive account of modern Spain, from the death of Franco to the Catalan referendum and beyond
Spain’s transition to democracy after Franco’s long dictatorship was widely hailed as a success, ushering in three decades of unprecedented progress and prosperity. Yet over the past decade its political consensus has been under severe strain. A stable two-party system has splintered, with disruptive new parties on the far left and far right. No government has had a majority since 2015.
Michael Reid overturns the stereotypical view of Spain as a country haunted by its Francoist past. From Catalan separatism and the indignados movement to the Spanish economy’s overdependence on tourism and small business, Spain’s challenges can often seem unique. But Reid is careful to emphasize the many pressures it faces in common with its European neighbors—such as austerity, populism, and increasing polarization. The result is a penetrating yet rounded portrait of a vibrant country—one that is more often visited than understood.

Michael Reid is a senior editor at The Economist. He was the magazine’s Spain correspondent between 2016 and 2021. He is the author of Brazil: The Troubled Rise of a Global Power and Forgotten Continent. He lives in Madrid.

"The best and most complete book I have read about Spain today and the historical roots of the present."—Antonio Muñoz Molina, prize-winning novelist

“Scrupulous, masterly, gentle and fair. I had thought the task impossible – but at last! A clear, careful unpicking of the knot of Catalan identity and separatism.”—Matthew Parris, author of A Castle in Spain

“This is a thoroughly up-to-date, astute account of contemporary Spain. Reid situates the country’s recent political turbulence in its Western European context, yet also concisely explains the history behind it. . . . An engaging read for those new to and already familiar with Spain alike.”—Caroline Gray, author of Territorial Politics and the Party System in Spain

“A lucid and engaging account of 21st century Spain enriched, not just by Reid’s sharp-eyed reporting for The Economist, but also by his deep understanding of the country’s past. He is particularly adept at sorting historical fact from separatist myth.”—John Hooper, author of The New Spaniards

“Michael Reid offers a comprehensive and witty assessment of contemporary Spain. Balancing his personal experiences with the incisive, analytical reflections of a journalist, Reid has produced a text that is accessible, yet original.”—Ana Palacio, former Foreign Minister of Spain
ISBN: 9780300260397
Publication Date: April 18, 2023
320 pages, 6 x 9 1/4
30 color illus. + 2 maps

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