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Professor Paul Preston

Príncipe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish History

Other Titles: Director of the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies
Research Interests: Spanish History
Room: TW2.5.02A
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7107

Professor Paul Preston's main fields of interests are Anglo-Spanish relations; contemporary Spanish politics; defence policy; European fascism; European left; Gibraltar; Spain; Spanish army; Spanish history, the Spanish Civil War, the Franco Regime, the transition to democracy in Spain. At LSE, he teaches courses within these topics and supervises students for their dissertations and theses at all levels, from undergraduate to PhD.

Paul Preston studied for his undergraduate degree at the Oriel College, Oxford before moving to the University of Reading where he gained his MA in European Studies. He moved back to Oriel College to work on his PhD. He returned to Reading to take up a post of Lecturer before moving on to Queen Mary College, London. He joined the LSE as a Professor in International History in 1991.

Professor Preston is the Príncipe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish Studies and Director of the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies| which is based in the European Institute at the London School of Economics.

He has produced a number of scholarly books and articles which include:

See a full list of Professor Preston's publications|.

He is also the editor of British Documents on Foreign Affairs and he edits a series of books on Spanish history and politics: Cañada Blanch Studies on Contemporary Spain|

He has delivered guest lectures in many Western European universities as well as in North America, including Harvard and NYU.

Professor Paul Preston also supervises the following Research Students:

Research Student Provisional Thesis Title
Pedro Correa Martín-Arroyo                                               From Sepharad to Freedom: Jewish Refugees and Rescue Operations in Spain and Portugal during the Holocaust, 1940-1945


In May 1977, Professor Paul Preston was awarded the Medalla de Honor of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid for my work on contemporary Spanish history.

In 1982, he was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society.

In June 1986, he was awarded the Encomienda de la Orden de Mérito Civil by King Juan Carlos for services to Spain.

In May 1994, his book Franco: A Biography was named 1994 Yorkshire Post Book of the Year.

In July 1994, he was elected to a Fellowship of the British Academy.

In February 1998, his book Las tres Españas del 36 (Plaza y Janés, Barcelona, 1998) received the 1998 Así fue - la Historia rescatada prize. (This is the translation of his book Comrades)

On 3 July 2000, he was awarded the Distinción Honorífica Cañada Blanch by the Fundación Cañada Blanch, Valencia.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2000, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 2005, he was awarded Premi Internacional Ramon Llull, awarded jointly by the Institut de Estudis Catalans and the Institut Ramon Llull. The prize is the most prestigious international prize for academic achievement given in Catalonia. The citation reads 'Paul Preston has been awarded the XV Premi Internacional Ramon Llull, in recognition of a lifetime achievement of exceptionally valuable historical work centred on the study of the Second Republic, the Civil War, the Francoist Dictatorship and the transition to democracy in Spain.'  The jury went on to praise the work of the LSE's Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies and the many books published by the Centre in conjunction with Routledge and other publishers.

On 20 June 2006, at a ceremony presided over by the King of Spain, Professor Paul Preston was inaugurated into the of the Academia Europea de Yuste, where he was given the Marcel Proust Chair.  (The Academy has thirty members, including the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco, the Portuguese novelist José Saramago, the German Nobel prize-winning economist Reinhard Selten, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the French sociologist Alain Touraine and the English dramatist Peter Schaffer).   

In 2007, the Catalan version of his book We Saw Spain Die received the prestigious Premi Trias Fargas in Barcelona.  In the same year, he was made Caballero Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica (Spain's highest civilian decoration) in recognition of his work on Spanish history. 

In 2008, he was appointed a corresponding member of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (the Catalan Social Science and Humanities Academy).  He was also a member of the jury for the 2008 Charles V European Prize (awarded to Simone Weil). 

In 2011, he was awarded the Premi d’Història Santiago Sobrequès for his book L’holocaust espanyol.

In 2012, he was awarded the Premi Pompeu Fabra.

In 2013, he was awarded the Premi Lluís Carulla.



Video interview with Professor Paul Preston

Professor Paul Preston’s groundbreaking and high-profile work on Spain, the legacy of Francoism and the atrocities committed during the twentieth century was submitted as one of the department’s Impact Case Studies in the recent UK Research Excellence Framework process. A short film is available here| in which Professor Preston discusses his research and how it influenced the debate in contemporary Spain on these important issues.
Paul Preston's Latest Book Reviewed by The Spectator and The Economist

The Spectator
published a review of Professor Paul Preston's latest book, The Last Stalinist: The Life of Santiago Carrillo|, on 23 August 2014. The book reviewer, JP O'Malley, concludes his essay by saying that "The Last Stalinist is yet another reminder that Paul Preston remains the most reliable historian in the English-speaking world for anyone wishing to understand the complicated power struggles between left and right in Spanish politics over the course of the 20th century." Read the full review by The Spectator|. The Economist's review was published on 13 September 2014. Paul Preston's manuscript was deemed "both sobering and welcome". Read the full review by The Economist|.
Paul Preston on Saber y Ganar

On 28 July 2014, Spain's most popular quiz show, 'Saber y ganar', featured Professor Paul Preston in one of their quizzes. The show has a section in which the contestants have to identify a famous person on the basis of a series of clues. As the contestants need more clues, the prize reduces in value. The winner twigged that it was Professor Paul Preston after four clues. Watch the show here| - Professor Paul Preston's quiz is at minute 34:00.
Paul Preston Featured in Indian Publication

Professor Paul Preston was featured on the July edition of the Indian journal Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Diplomatist. On Four Decades of Triumph and Trial|, he talks about "the rise of King Juan Carlos de Borbón as a national hero, and a popular legitimacy to which the new King can only aspire".
Paul Preston comments on King Juan Carlos's Abdication

In the context of King Juan Carlos's abdication announcement in favour of his son Felipe, Professor Paul Preston appeared in several international media outlets such as the Portuguese, Diário de Noticias ("Um rei pode perder lugar por incompetência"|, 19 May 2014) and the Brazilian, O Globo ("'Legado de Juan Carlos I foi garantir a democracia', diz biógrafo"|, 8 June 2014).
Paul Preston on World Media following the Death of Adolfo Suarez

On occasion of Adolfo Suarez's death in March 2014, Professor Paul Preston talked about the life of the first elected prime minister after Franco to the British and international media. Here are some of his contributions:

Adolfo Suárez's Obituary| by Paul Preston (The Guardian, 23 March 2014) 
La Noche de... Suárez| with an interview with Paul Preston (RTVE, 23 March 2014)
Adolfo Suárez, The Man Who Came After Franco| (The New Yorker, 26 March 2014) 
Last Word: Adolfo Suárez| with Paul Preston and Dr Gregorio Alonso (BBC Radio 4, 30 March 2014)