“Ashes and Granite documents a little-understood side of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath: what the war and the installation of Francoism meant to the making of cities. Through the presentation of hitherto-buried primary sources and excellent comparative visual documentation, the book is a genuine contribution to urban history.” —Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology, emeritus, London School of Economics
“Interdisciplinary studies are still relatively uncommon in Spanish historical writing and Ashes and Granite is much to be welcomed. The relationship between official discourse and the practice of urban reconstruction in Francoist Spain that emerges from the book is arresting, and offers nuanced and innovative insights into the nature of the regime.” —Mary Vincent, Professor of Modern European History, University of Sheffield
“This highly original book joins a growing subfield of scholarship on the urban aftermath of wartime bombings. While other works have highlighted memory or commemoration, Olivia Muñoz-Rojas draws on her knowledge of architecture, urban studies, and Spanish history to assess the Franco dictatorship's attempts to wed reconstruction to ideology at sites in three cities affected by Spain's Civil War (1936–39): the Montaña de Príncipe Pío in Madrid, eight bridges in Bilbao, and the Plaça Nova in Barcelona. […] Muñoz-Rojas has produced an innovative and perceptive investigation of prewar planning, wartime architectural casualties, postwar reconstruction, and the contours of dictatorship in modern Spain. Her book is a valuable addition to an emerging historiography on the aftermath of war from the viewpoints of urban reconstruction and the ideological aesthetics of dictatorships.” —Dr Eric R. Smith, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Michigan War Studies Review
“Reconstruction is a term often thought of in a physical sense, but using Spain after 1939 as case studies, both of these works challenge us to delve deeper into the meaning of the term and examine its implications for propagandistic, cultural and symbolic meanings. […]Reading these two books together is a worthwhile exercise, and leaves many questions to explore. Olivia Muñoz-Rojas emphasizes the gap between rhetoric and reality, and she underlines that the Franco regime was not only ‘repressive’ but also ‘lethargic’ and that the visions of a new Spain fell short given these attitudes (67). Viejo-Rose, on the other hand, believes Spain serves as an excellent case to study the transformation of landscapes through reconstruction and that it allows one to draw out the symbolic narratives inherent in the process of ‘re-visioning the nation’ (197).” —David A. Messenger, University of Wyoming, Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
About the Author
Olivia Muñoz-Rojas researches on cities, culture and society from an interdisciplinary perspective, and is particularly interested in the visual and aesthetic dimensions of social and political processes. Her current research focuses on the origins, transmission and interplay of city images, the legacies of war and totalitarianism in Europe, and the aesthetics of revolutionary movements. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, having studied at and researched for insitutions in Spain (Universidad Complutense, CSIC, UOC, ETSAM), Sweden (Uppsala, Lund), the United Kingdom (LSE, BURA, Urban Age) and the United States (New York University, Harvard University). She has published on the topic of urban destruction and reconstruction in the Journal of War and Culture Studies and the International Journal of Iberian Studies, among others; as well as in other fields, including suburban regeneration and comparative education. She also writes for non-academic media. Currently she lives in Paris, and this is her first single-authored book.