With commendable objectivity, sometimes disturbing to our preconceptions, Professor Payne describes Spain's development from the original semi-fascist, potentially imperialist regime of 1936-1945 into a Catholic corporatist 'organic democracy' with the subordination of the fascist component from 1945-1957 and the final developmentalist phase of so-called technocracy and bureaucratic authoritarianism from 1957 until the full restoration of the monarchy with the crowning of Juan Carlos in 1975. Offering valuable insights into Franco's personal style, the author paints a picture of an imperialist and cultural traditionalist who was also a determined economic modernizer. Neither an intellectual nor an original thinker, Franco well understood the manipulation of people and the use of power and thus maintained a firm authoritarian grasp for four decades. His policies and values, however, represented an end, not a beginning. The definitive history of the Franco regime, its emergence from political conflict, its development during the Civil War, and its fundamental transformation of contemporary Spanish society.