The appearance, more than sixty years after the Spanish Civil War ended, of mass graves containing victims of Francisco Franco's death squads finally broke what Spaniards call "the pact of forgetting"―the unwritten understanding that their recent, painful past was best left unexplored. At this charged moment, Giles Tremlett embarked on a journey around the country and through its history to discover why some of Europe's most voluble people have kept silent so long.
Ghosts of Spain is the fascinating result of that journey. In elegant and passionate prose, Tremlett unveils the tinderbox of disagreements that mark the country today. Delving into such emotional questions as who caused the Civil War, why Basque terrorists kill, why Catalans hate Madrid, and whether the Islamist bombers who killed 190 people in 2004 dreamed of a return to Spain's Moorish past, Tremlett finds the ghosts of the past everywhere. At the same time, he offers trenchant observations on more quotidian aspects of Spanish life today: the reasons, for example, Spaniards dislike authority figures, but are cowed by a doctor's white coat, and how women have embraced feminism without men noticing.
Drawing on the author's twenty years of experience living in Spain, Ghosts of Spain is a revelatory book about one of Europe's most exciting countries.
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Giles Tremlett is the Guardian's Madrid correspondent. He has lived in, and written about, Spain for the past twenty years.Review:
“[Tremlett] paints a rich, multicolored canvas of one of Europe's most fascinating nations.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“This well traveled journalist...knows his subject as he ventures through the past to explain the present personality of a country so varied that even in modern times its complicated medieval legacy is part of everyday life.” ―Washington Times (Ann Geracimos)
“Tremlett has written a smart and highly readable book that mixes incisive political history with sophisticated cultural reporting.” ―Seattle Times (Robin Updike)
“[An] incisive and engaging book....[Tremlett's] sober analysis of how the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004...exposed deep fissures in Spanish society is the best report I've read on the subject....[A]n invaluable book. Indeed, since it appeared in Britain last year, 'Ghosts of Spain' has become something of a bible for those of us extranjeros who have chosen to live in Spain. A country finally facing its past could scarcely hope for a better, or more enamored, chronicler of its present.” ―New York Times Book Review (Sarah Wildman)
“ [An] affectionate, deeply informed tour of the country.... a highly informative, well-written introduction to post-Franco Spain. Mr. Tremlett's taut recounting of the 2004 train bombings in Madrid makes especially timely reading, with the suspects now on trial.” ―New York Times (William Grimes)
“Mr. Tremlett['s]...affectionate yet critical intimacy with the country helps to make this book much more than an ordinary journalistic survey....Extended residency has...allowed Mr. Tremlett to gather off-beat stories distinctly revealing of his adopted land.” ―Wall Street Journal (Francis X. Rocco)
“[A] provocative and vividly written book that is part history, part political and social commentary, and part love letter....This book should be in all public and academic library collections on Spanish history and culture.” ―Library Journal
“Tremlett...went native almost immediately upon his arrival in Spain twenty years ago. He wants us to see, hear, touch, and taste exactly why....there are pages here on almost every exemplary, cautionary, and symbolic aspect of Old Spain and New.” ―Harpers (John Leonard)
“[A]n evocative, often poignant sojourn through the as-yet uncleared psychic mists of the civil war.” ―Star-Tribune (Michael J. Bonafield)
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