Book Review: Franco's Pirates: Naval Aspects of the Spanish Civil War 1936–39


by E. R. Hooton

Philadelphia & Yorkshire: Casemate Publishers, 2024. Pp. xx, 256+. Illus., maps, tables, append., notes., biblio., index. $37.95. ISBN:1636242758

Commercial Shipping and Blockade Operations during the Spanish Civil War

With his newest book, Hooton, a retired defense journalist and author of a number of books in military history, including Spain in Arms: A Military History of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (2019), gives us a very good look at a rather neglected subject - the maritime side of the Spanish Civil War. This reviewer can think of only one other work covering the subject, Michael Alpert’s The Spanish Civil War at Sea (2021), which primarily deals, quite well, with naval operations during the war.

Hooton does cover naval operations, but rather more lightly, while concentrating on the role of commercial shipping in the war. So we get a good look at the Spanish merchant marine before and during the Civil War, the mutual attempts at blockade and blockade running, and a very good look at the not-so-covert Axis role in Nationalist war on the Republic’s maritime life line, including “pirate submarine” attacks.

Franco’s Pirates is an essential read for anyone interested in the Spanish Civil War, naval operations between the World Wars, and the concept of blockade.



Note: Franco’s Pirates is also available in e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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