Review by Scott Skipper
Hitler Stopped by Franco by Burt Boyar
- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (19 Dec 2012)
- ISBN-10: 1480264393
- ISBN-13: 978-1480264397
Purchase from: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk
Nothing Less Than Superb
Burt Boyar and his late wife had extraordinary access to intimate details of an obscure piece of World War II history. Most Americans’ view of Generalísimo Franco is of an implacable Fascist dictator who ran Spain with an iron hand for nearly forty years. That may be true enough, but Hitler Stopped by Franco shows us that he had another facet. Imagine being the supreme leader of civil war torn, impoverished and helpless Spain with divisions of Wehrmacht amour parked on your border and Hitler continually whining, cajoling and demanding access to Gibraltar through your sovereign territory. With Spain totally defenseless, Franco had to play the ultimate cat and mouse game. He had to convince Hitler of his friendship, and that he would join the Axis ‘any day now’ while he kept relief coming from the Allies with assurances of maintaining strict neutrality. For three years he managed to walk this tightrope. The Boyars were able to interview actual players in this tableau who were present at high-stakes meetings with the world’s most dangerous men. The depth of the research behind this story is uncanny. Written in the form of historical fiction, this fascinating history reads like a suspense novel. The characterization of Franco will give the reader a new perspective of the man who saved Spain twice. I cannot give this book enough praise.
4 thoughts on “Historical Fiction Book Review: Hitler Stopped by Franco by Burt Boyar”
Looks like a fascinating book. It’s all too easy to forget that different far-right European states had different agendas, even if they were all deeply unpleasant. For example Mussolini only incorporated anti-semitism into his agenda at the behest of the Germans, being far more concerned with industrial relations.
On Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 7:01 AM, Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate
Hmm, I’m not sure that fiction is the best vehicle for this material. It smacks of apologist writing. A better presentation would be historical analysis of the sources. If there is solid evidence, display it and I will weigh it up for myself. Fiction does not allow for counter argument or the wider perspective. To me Franco was a bloody dictator, ruthless and propped up by allies like Hitler and Mussolini. I can appreciate that there are other viewpoints, but I would hesitate to approach the topic through fiction.
I agree it does sound apologist, but its difficult to form an opinion without having read the book. I haven’t read the book myself so I can’t comment on how it reads as a piece of fiction or the veracity of the sources. Even in supposed non-fiction there can be elements of fiction. “History is a lie agreed upon”, is a saying that I think sums up the fact that any piece of history is always going to be subjective. There are plenty of non-fiction apologies for dictators as well as fictional ones.
I think its good though to have a debate about this. As readers of historical fiction and alternate history, how comfortable are we with reading about viewpoints of past events that seem to go against how we would like to perceive the past? How do you deal with works of fiction that perhaps bend the truth to fit a political agenda?