An American Diplomat in Franco Spain

An American Diplomat in Franco Spain
by Michael Aaron Rockland

“What pleasure it gives me to encounter an American, a former diplomat, who understands so well our country, past and present, and who is equally at home in the world and language of Cervantes as that of Shakespeare.”

-Jorge Dezcallar, Ambassador of Spain to the U.S.

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Michael Aaron Rockland

Michael Aaron Rockland

An American Diplomat in Franco Spain is filled with delicious behind-the-scenes stories told by author Michael Aaron Rockland who was a cultural attaché at the United States embassy in Madrid, Spain in the 1960s. The one concerning the day Rockland spent alone with Martin Luther King in Madrid, of all places, is not only poignant but funny. It presents King as a human being more than as a hero and national icon. From Marx Brothers-like attempts to avoid shaking hands with Spain’s dictator in a receiving line, to a search for missing hydrogen bombs, to touching, humanized portraits of celebrities with their hair down, Rockland brings the trivial and the historically significant together into a warm snapshot of a time just as American culture was changing forever. The book’s “Afterword,” when Rockland returned to the United States after six years abroad, is a vivid look at that change and how deeply it affected him.

What comes through ringingly is his life-long love affair with Spain and its culture that Rockland’s years there engendered. Reading his book, it’s hard not to fall in love with Spain, too.

“What pleasure it gives me,” says Jorge Dezcallar, Spain’s Ambassador to the United States, “to encounter an American, a former diplomat, who understands so well our country, past and present, and who is equally at home in the world and language of Cervantes as that of Shakespeare.” And, says Carmen Manuel of the University of Valencia, which first published this book in Spanish, “Rockland’s work is brilliantly funny and magnificently unputdownable for Spaniards and Americans who lived through the last death rattles of Franco’s regime.”

paperback, 178 pages, $15.00
ISBN 978-1-60182-304-5

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