Juan Carlos: A People's King
Harper Collins, 2004
Prince Juan Carlos of Spain was born in Rome in 1938. Spain was effectively a monarchy without a King, and the last sovereign, his grandfather Alfonso XIII, had had to leave the country in 1931, taking the family into exile with him.
He was declared the successor of General Franco, Dictator of Spain, to become head of state after the latter's death. When Franco died in 1975, some doubted how long the restored monarchy would last under its young and inexperienced sovereign.
Yet this book shows in painstakingly-researched detail that, despite the authoritarian traditions in which he was raised, and despite his cloistered education and difficult relations with his father, he succeeded in becoming a democratic and popular King. Above all, his courageous action in putting down the military coup of 1981 won him much respect from many who had previously regarded him with some scepticism.
The review of this Book prepared by John Van der Kiste