Paul Preston CBE (born 1946 in Liverpool) is a British 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.
Since 1991 Professor Preston has taught at the London School of Economics, where he is director of the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies. He is a frequent visitor to Spain, where his work appears in Spanish. He speaks Spanish fluently. He also speaks Catalan.
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.
- Paul Preston (2013). El zorro rojo - La vida de Santiago Carrillo. Debate. ISBN 978-8-49-032422-6.
- Paul Preston (2012). The Spanish Holocaust. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-06476-X.
- Paul Preston (2008). We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War. London, UK: Constable and Robinson. ISBN 978-1845299460.
- Paul Preston (2006). The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge. London, UK: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-00-723207-9.
- Paul Preston (2004). Juan Carlos: A People's King. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-255632-3. Published in the US with the subtitle: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy.
- Paul Preston (2002). Doves of War: Four Women of Spain. London, UK: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-255633-0.
- Paul Preston (2001). Revolution and War in Spain, 1931-1939. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-09894-6.
- Paul Preston (1999). ¡Comrades! Portraits from the Spanish Civil War. London, UK: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-255635-9.
- Paul Preston (1995). Franco: A biography. London, UK: Fontana Press. ISBN 978-0-00-686210-9.
- Paul Preston (2012). The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain. London, UK: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0002556347.
Preston is quoted as saying that "Franco wasn't a fascist, but something much worse, as he brought the African mentality of repression and coldness, and treated the Spanish the same way as the natives of Morocco."
He describes the final victory of Francisco Franco's troops as "an international war that happened in Spanish fields, that wasn't decided in Spain but in the hands of the great powers.", going on to add that "after initial hesitation, Mussolini's involvement would escalate from the provision of transport aircraft to a point at which Italy was, in everything short of a formal declaration of hostilities, at war with the Spanish Republic".
Awards and honours
- 2000 Commander of the Order of the British Empire
- 2005 Ramon Llull International Prize
- 2007 Grand Cross of the Orden de Isabel la Católica (one of Spain's highest honours)
- 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, shortlist, The Spanish Holocaust 
- 2013 Honour Prize of the Lluís Carulla's Foundation 
- Night Waves, BBC Radio Three, 6 March 2012
- (Spanish) 2007 Cadena SER interview, accessed via El País website
- Spanish and Catalan editions appeared in 2011. España masacrada, El País.
- Treglown (February 2012). "The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston: review". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
- Tremlett, Giles (March 2012). "The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston - review". The Guardian. www.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Paul Preston, Italy and Spain in Civil War and World War, 1936-1943 in Paul Preston and Sebastian Balfour (editors), Spain and the great powers in the twentieth century, Routledge, 1999 ISBN 0-415-18078-3 p. 151
- Alison Flood (5 October 2012). "Six books to 'change our view of the world' on shortlist for non-fiction prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- ACN (12 November 2012). "La Fundació Lluís Carulla atorga el Premi d'Honor a l'historiador Paul Preston". Vilaweb. Retrieved 22 November 2013.