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Historian Onésimo Díaz, professor at the University, publishes a biography of Florentino Pérez Embid

The author explains the life of a dynamic man, who was director general of Information and Fine Arts, in addition to directing a publishing house and a magazine.


22 | 09 | 2023

Onésimo Díaz, a professor at the University of Navarra, has just published a work entitled Florentino Pérez Embid. Una biografía (1918-1974), which, according to its author, "deals with the life of the first person from Opus Dei to occupy a political position position , as director general of Information in 1951, long before the famous technocrats".

The book sample describes the activity of a multifaceted man, who was Full Professor of History of the Geographical Discoveries and Geography of America, director of the publishing house Rialp, director general of Information and later of Fine Arts, founder of the magazine Atlántida and President of the Menéndez Pelayo International University. He published 23 books and 43 articles, most of them Americanist.

Published by publishing house Rialp, this biography is divided into two parts. The first, "La training de un hombre de pensamiento y acción (1918-1953)" begins with the forging of his personality in Aracena (Huelva) and in his university years in Seville; and of his first works in Madrid, as editor of the CSIC magazine Arbor and director of the publishing house Rialp.

In the second, "The configuration of a politician of firm convictions (1954-1974)" opens a new stage in his life characterized by the primacy of the political facet, both as director general of Information and director general of Fine Arts. "From his period in Fine Arts it is worth mentioning the steps he took for the arrival in Spain of Picasso's Guernica . In spite of accepting public posts in the service of the Franco regime, Pérez Embid always considered himself a monarchist in the service of Juan de Borbón as a member of his Private committee ", emphasizes the author.

Trainer of young values

Throughout the story there are young people whom he helped with his advice and know-how, such as Jesús de Polanco (founder of El País and group Prisa) and Carmen Díez de Rivera (cabinet director of President Adolfo Suárez). He was also a friend of Manuel Fraga and Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora. About Pérez Embid, Luis María Anson wrote in a letter to the author of the book that he was "a cultured, conciliatory and constructive writer".

As explained by the history professor, "this biography is result of a research in several archives, among which it is worth mentioning the collection staff of Florentino Pérez Embid belonging to the file General of the University of Navarra".

Onésimo Díaz, PhD in Contemporary History from the University of the Basque Country and PhD in Church History from the University of the Holy Cross, is professor of History and member of group of Recent History at the University of Navarra. He is the author of sixteen books and more than forty articles in specialized journals on the Contemporary History of Spain.