Sir Paul PrestonCBE (born 21 July 1946 in Liverpool) is an English historian and Hispanist, biographer of Franco, specialist in Spanish history, in particular the Spanish Civil War, which he has studied for more than 30 years. He is the winner of multiple awards for his books on the Spanish Civil War.
Paul Preston on a visit to Spain in 2008
Preston was born in 1946 in Liverpool. Preston said in an interview that he has sympathy for the Second Spanish Republic: "I came from a fairly left-wing family. You could not really be from working-class Liverpool and not be left-wing. Emotionally, in my feeling for the Republic I think there is an element of indignation about the Republic's defeat, solidarity with the losing side. Maybe that's why I support Everton, although Everton wasn't the losing side in my day."
Since 1991 Professor Preston has taught at the London School of Economics, where he is Príncipe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish Studies and director of the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies.
He is a frequent visitor to Spain, where his work appears in Spanish and Catalan. He speaks both Spanish and Catalan.
He has a wife, Gabriella, to whom he dedicated The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain.
Preston has produced a biography of Franco (Basic Books, 1994).
He has also published a biography of King Juan Carlos I (2003).
Recent books include ones on the subject of foreign correspondents who reported on the Spanish Civil War and Franco's control of his generals. In 2012 he published the English edition of the Spanish Holocaust. This book represents a challenge to the pact of forgetting, examining the many deaths and atrocities associated with the Spanish Civil War, and following the Francoist repression into the early 1950s.
— (1978). The Coming of the Spanish Civil War: Reform, Reaction and Revolution in the Second Republic 1931-1936. London: Macmillan.