Summary of The Struggle for Catalonia

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The Struggle for Catalonia book summary


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As Catalonia’s independence fight burst into the headlines in 2017, even sophisticated observers of international politics scratched their heads about why residents of Barcelona and the surrounding region were keen to secede. Swiss journalist Raphael Minder’s well-timed study provides background and context for this question. Catalans resent Spain’s continual financial and economic mismanagement. Local feelings still fester from Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s decades-long repression of Catalan culture and language. Catalans bristle at corrupt politicians in Madrid extracting more tax dollars from Catalonia than they return. Unfortunately, this nuanced debate so lacks drama that Minder struggles to convey the dispute in a compelling way. This isn’t Bosnia, Rwanda or Syria: Race and religion don’t apply, bloodshed is rare, and the line between heroes and villains is unclear. getAbstract finds that Minder does an admirable job of laying out a thorough history for readers who want to make sense of Catalonia’s past and present political fights.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the Catalan independence movement gained momentum,
  • How the debate over secession is playing out,
  • Why events came to a head in 2017, and
  • How the Catalan language survives.

About the Author

Swiss journalist Raphael Minder covers Spain for The New York Times. Before joining The Times in 2010, he covered Paris, Brussels, Sydney and Hong Kong for the Financial Times.



Waving the Flag for a New Nation

Catalans, or at least a significant percentage of Catalans, have long seen themselves as a people apart from the rest of Spain. Catalonia’s hard-core nationalists have sought independence for centuries. The Catalan secessionism movement gained new momentum in 2011, amid a European financial crisis that hit especially hard in Spain – as well as in Greece, Italy and Portugal.

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