This very good book is a series of linked essays examining the history and role of the fascist Falangist movement and the military in Spanish history from the conclusion of the Civil War to the establishment of democracy. The military and the Falange were two important components of the rightist coalition that won the Civil War. Preston does not examine the history of the other major components of this coaltion; the Catholic Church and its associated political movements, and the powerful upper and upper middle class economic interests that supported the right wing revolt. These last two groups eventually became disenchanted with the Franco regime and by the 60s, were on the side of regime transformation. The military and the Falangist movement, on the other hand, remained intransigent to the very end with substantial dissident elements in the military mounting coup attempts into the 1980s. Preston covers the nature of the Francoist state as a semi-fascist movement, the use of the military as a primary force for internal social control, the nature of Franco's balancing act among the different components of the regime, and a number of allied features. There is, for example, a good chapter on Franco's relations with the Axis powers in WWII. All the chapters are informative and written well, though there is some overlap with Preston's other writings, as well as some redundancy among chapters. A decent knowledge of the Civil War and the broad outlines of post-Civil War Spanish history are necessary to read this book.