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Exhuming Franco
Spain's Second Transition

Author(s): Sebastiaan Faber

What is left of Francisco Franco's legacy in Spain today? Franco ruled Spain as a military dictator from 1939 until his death in 1975. In October 2019, his remains were removed from the massive national monument in which they had been buried for forty-four years. For some, the exhumation confirmed that Spain has long been a modern, consolidated democracy. The reality is more complicated. In fact, the country is still deeply affected—and divided—by the dictatorial legacies of Francoism.

In one short volume, Exhuming Franco covers all major facets of the Francoist legacy today, combining research and analysis with reportage and interviews. This book is critical of Spanish democracy; yet, as the final chapter makes clear, Spain is one of many countries facing difficult questions about a conflictive past. To make things worse, the rise of a new, right-wing nationalist revisionism across the West threatens to undo much of the progress made in the past couple of decades when it comes to issues of historical justice.

Biography of Author(s)

Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College, is the author of several books, including Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War and Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Intellectuals in Mexico, 1939–1975 (both published by Vanderbilt University Press).


  • "Fascinating. . . . Faber's research makes clear that even now, forty-five years after his death, Spain has still not overcome aspects of Franco's legacy."
    Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer, The New Yorker, and author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
  • "A fascinating read by a very seasoned observer of Spanish political life."
    Omar Guillermo Encarnación, author of Democracy Without Justice in Spain: The Politics of Forgetting