Spain’s eighteenth century, long neglected both by Spanish and foreign historiographers, has lately received increasing attention. These two works, both dealing with the explosive end of eighteenth-century Spain in the War of Independence, are important contributions to the growing literature on Spanish historical subjects by American writers.

Although both authors write about the same problem, their methods and the focus of their work are quite different. Connelly approaches, as it were, from the French side, seeking to write an essay on the government of conquered peoples by an imperial power. To him Spain is a part of the larger problem of the satellite kingdoms in the Napoleonic system. To this end, he thoughtfully and systematically treats the establishment, internal affairs, economy, judicial system, and revenues of Italy, Naples, Holland, Westphalia, and Spain. This topical treatment is carefully integrated with a narrative that blocks in the relationship of the special problem being considered with the general historical development of the empire. Military events receive due weight, but necessarily the author puts his primary attention on political questions.

Spain was the least successful of the satellite kingdoms. It cost Napoleon much blood and treasure and, in the emperor’s opinion, “that miserable Spanish affair . . . was what killed me” (p. 223). Connelly largely confirms Napoleon’s conclusion. Napoleon erred in his assessment of both Spanish will to resist and their military capability, and Joseph’s laziness, misjudgments, and occasional cowardice compounded these errors. Yet, in the end, some of Joseph’s administrative changes did take effect.

The contrast between Spanish intransigence and the imperial loyalty of Eugène Beauharnais’ viceroyalty of Italy or Jérôme Bonaparte’s Kingdom of Westphalia is obvious and great. What made the difference? “Anachronistic nationalism” which led the Spanish to defend a “regime of the most medieval character extant.. . .” To this must be added the errors of Napoleon, but above all Joseph’s military ineptitude which “lost” Spain (pp. 344-345).

Connelly writes well. His prose has clarity and a compelling pace, and careful development makes his arguments convincing. Yet it must be said that Connelly’s concentration on the French aspects of the subject imparts to his work an unconscious bias. His proper interest in French mistakes and failure leads him perhaps to overemphasize them at the expense of Spanish courage and patriotism. But this criticism aside, the author amply succeeds in his declared aim of providing the reader with a general and comparative treatment of Napoleon’s satellites.

The two volumes by Lovett have at once much more intensive focus and a narrower field. The author proposes to trace fully the emperor’s “Spanish adventure” and the ensuing conflict, which not only “decisively undermined” Napoleon’s empire but gave rise to a new Spain.

In the space of two volumes Professor Lovett has scope for a certain leisure and amplitude in approaching his task. He begins with two chapters on the political and social atmosphere of Spain in the eighteenth century and then traces Godoy’s increasing diplomatic involvement with Napoleon and its denouement in the events of 1808. Then Bailen and the seige of Zaragoza and other military events get major attention. Against these dramatic happenings, the author sets the attempts of the Junta Central, the Regency, and the Cortes to put together a viable Spanish government. Next comes the work of the Cortes of Cádiz in creating the Constitution of 1812 and an analysis of that document. Professor Lovett then describes Joseph and his government and follows this with an inquiry into the origins and actions of the afrancesados. He continues with a treatment of the guerrilleros and their savage and personal war against the French. The concluding chapters deal with the British operations in Spain, the French withdrawal, and the return of Ferdinand.

Lovett considers the principal cause of the Spanish War of Independence to be Spanish nationalism, to which he appears somewhat more sympathetic than Connelly. Indeed, far from being “archaic,” the Spanish reaction to Napoleon was a “people’s war” which “inspired the other enslaved European nations.” More significant, the war was also a revolution that divided Spaniards into the quarreling camps of liberals and conservatives, so important for the next century.

Lovett’s work is the most detailed and comprehensive treatment in English on the War of Independence. It is written from an obviously thorough acquaintance with not only the printed sources but much archival material. The work is carefully organized and written with clarity. Both books belong in the library of every Hispanist, and each author should be congratulated on his achievement.