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:
The Last Stalinist. The Life of Santiago Carrillo (HarperCollins, London, 2014)
The Spanish Holocaust. Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth Century Spain (HarperCollins, London; W.W.Norton, New York, 2012)
We Saw Spain Die. Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War (London:Constable, 2008)
El gran manipulador. La mentira cotidiana de Franco (Barcelona: Ediciones B, 2008)
The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, Revolution, Revenge (London, HarperCollins, 2006)
Juan Carlos. A People's King (London, HarperCollins, 2004)
Doves of War. Four Women of Spain (London: HarperCollins, 2002);
Comrades! Portraits from the Spanish Civil War (London: HarperCollins, 1999)
Franco. A Biography (London, HarperCollins, 1993)
The Politics of Revenge: Fascism and the Military in 20th Century Spain (London, Unwin Hyman, 1990)
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New York, Grove Press, 1986)
The Triumph of Democracy in Spain (London and New York, Methuen, 1986)
Editor, Revolution and War in Spain 1931-1939 (London: Methuen, 1984)
The Coming of the Spanish Civil War: Reform Reaction and Revolution in the Second Spanish Republic 1931-1936 (London: Macmillan, 1978) 2nd English edition revised and expanded (London, Routledge, 1994)
Editor, Spain in Crisis: Evolution and Decline of the Franco Regime (Hassocks: Harvester Press, 1976).
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.
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.