Struggle for Democracy in Post-Franco Spain: Background information when reading The Sadness of the Samurai

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Sadness of the Samurai

A Novel

by Victor del Arbol

The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbol X
The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbol
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2012, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Struggle for Democracy in Post-Franco Spain

This article relates to The Sadness of the Samurai

Print Review

Victor del Árbol's The Sadness of the Samurai begins in pro-Nazi Spain and takes place over three generations - the perfect political backdrop for the violence, betrayal, mystery and murder that takes place in the novel. Every nation struggles with its own demons, and 20th century Spain was no exception - experiencing civil war, dictatorial leaders, worker unrest, nascent democracy, and in 1981, a coup d'état that threatened to topple the newly formed democratic government.

After ruling Spain for nearly four decades, dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975. His appointed heir, Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón took over as King and lost little time restructuring Spain's government into a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected congress, called the Cortes. He promised a future of freely contested elections, but it quickly proved to be a promise he would not be able to fulfill, especially if elements of the country's right wing had anything to say about it.

Accompanying any drastic political rearrangement there will be inevitable dissenters. Among the most influential in late 1970s Spain was former Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero Molina who, although no longer in the military, still held sway with scores of military and para-military who opposed the new order. Together with Lieutenant General Jaime Milans del Bosch y Ussía, he and others plotted to overthrow the democratically elected Cortes and appoint new leadership under a Franco-like military dictatorship.

In a dramatic show of force on February 23, 1981 Tejero lead 200 heavily armed men as they stormed the Cortes, firing automatic weapons into the air and taking the 350 ministers prisoner. They ordered those present to lie down and closed surrounding streets. The rebels also commandeered national radio and television stations and Bosch began broadcasting orders, declaring a state of emergency, ordering tanks into the streets and throwing citizens into a worried panic.

The coup was short lived however. The following day King Juan Carlos appeared on national television reassuring the public that the perpetrators had been apprehended and order restored. It is generally accepted that since he had the support of all three of Spain's military branches in addition to the favor he had garnered as Franco's personal appointee, Juan Carlos was able to quickly quash the rebellion.

Although the narration is in Spanish, you can click on the video below to watch Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero Molina storm the congressional meeting in 1981.

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Sadness of the Samurai. It first ran in the May 30, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Vita Nostra
    Vita Nostra
    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
    Vita Nostra by Ukrainian authors Sergey and Marina Dyachenko is one of those novels that defies ...
  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.