In 1898 Spain went to war with the United States and lost the scattered remnants of her old empire. This book is the first comprehensive analysis of Spain's 'disaster' and the ensuing political and social crisis, stretching from the end of the Empire to the military coup of 1923. SebastianBalfour weaves together political, economic, and social history in his study of the reaction to war and crisis by a wide range of participants, from rioters to rulers. He examines the rise of Catalan nationalism, the fruitless efforts of politicians and intellectuals to regenerate Spain from above,the disintegration of Spain's political system before 1923, and the creation of an imperial myth in the subsequent dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and Franco. This is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the roots of the Spanish crisis in the first part of the twentieth century.