Springtime in Madrid always brings out the booksellers. We’ve just finished the Feria del Libro, an annual event for publishers, bookshops, authors, and readers. Held for two weeks in Madrid’s verdant Parque de Retiro, the book fair attracts thousands of visitors every day.

There’s plenty to see for students of military history. Osprey books are easy to find and enjoy a wide distribution in Spain. Some World War Two and ancient warfare titles have been translated into Spanish and are sold in kiosks. English-language titles sell well too. I even found copies of my American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics and Medieval Handgonnes books!

For military enthusiasts who can make their way through Spanish, there are more than a dozen magazines about history, modeling, and wargaming. Serga has been specializing in twentieth-century warfare for more than seventy issues while newcomer Desperta Ferro concentrates on the ancient and medieval world.

Tabletop wargaming is popular here, and the Madrid wargaming community is served by Atlántica Juegos, a spacious store that offers rules, figures, painting services, and a giant table for slugging it out with your opponent. They also have an incredible book section and stock every Osprey title in print. Another excellent source for military history books is Librería Gaudí, which also carries books on transportation and art.

There are several publishers specializing in military history and wargaming. Most are small, but Librería Almena has published a huge range of titles on all periods. Most have a Spanish slant, like one of their latest titles on Spaniards who fought in the SS and Wehrmacht during the last days of Berlin.

If you’re looking to brush up on your Spanish, there’s no shortage of good reading. For slacking off at work there’s El Gran Capitán, an extensive website with a blog, articles, and a lively forum. Also check out my articles on the castles of Extremadura and a daytrip you can take from Madrid to see a Renaissance fortification and Spanish Civil War bunker. If you’re passing through Spain you can even hunt down some of your favorite Osprey titles and read them in translation!


1: Yours truly with a copy of American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics. There’s a lot of interest in this war in Spain.


2: One publisher was selling beautiful facsimile editions of early manuscripts.


3: Large crowds at Madrid’s book fair.


4: A selection of Librería Almena titles.


5: More books!