Ghosts of Spain Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past

by Giles Tremlett

Ghosts of Spain Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past Synopsis

Spaniards are reputed to be amongst Europe's most forthright people. So why have they kept silent about the terrors of their Civil War and the rule of General Franco? This apparent 'pact of forgetting' inspired writer Giles Tremlett to embark on a journey around Spain and its history. He found the ghosts of Spain everywhere, almost always arguing. Who caused the Civil War? Why do Basque terrorists kill? Why do Catalans hate Madrid? Did the Islamist bombers who killed 190 people in 2004 dream of a return to Spain's Moorish past? Tremlett's curiosity led him down some strange and colourful byroads, and brought him unexpected insights into the Spanish character.

Ghosts of Spain Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past Press Reviews

Tremlett is as sound on social history as he is on recent politics. Ghosts of Spain is a book of remarkable scope...carried along by the author's enthusiasm for his subject and his determination to capture this contemporary Spanish moment. It is a quest in which he succeeds brilliantly, and he emerges as a worthy member of that band of writers, from Richard Ford and Ernest Hemingway to Gerald Brenan and Michael Jacobs, who have fallen for Iberia. Ghosts of Spain is a warts-and-all love letter from someone who hopes never to recover from the coup de foudre. -- Sunday Times (London) Tremlett, Madrid correspondent for the Guardian, 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. John Leonard, Harper's Praise for Ghosts of Spain [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 countr Praise for Ghosts of Spain : [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 whoz Praise for Ghosts of Spain : [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 adoptedland. -- 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) Praise for Ghosts of Spain [Tremlett's] affectionate yet critical intimacy with the country helps to make this book much more than an ordinary journalistic survey...[with the] sort of insight that vindicates his approach to a deeply traditional and fast-changing land. -- Wall Street Journal An evocative, often poignant sojourn through the as-yet uncleared psychic mists of the civil war. -- Minneapolis Star Tribune Tremlett has written a smart and highly readable book that mixes incisive political history with sophisticated cultural reporting. -- Seattle Times 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) Tremlett is as sound on social history as he is on recent politics. Ghosts of Spain is a book of remarkable scope... carried along by the author' s enthusiasm for his subject and his determination to capture this contemporary Spanish moment. It is a quest in which he succeeds brilliantly, and he emerges as a worthy member of that band of writers, from Richard Ford and Ernest Hemingway to Gerald Brenan and Michael Jacobs, who have fallen for Iberia. Ghosts of Spain is a warts-and-all love letter from someone who hopes never to recover from the coup de foudre, -- Sunday Times (London) Tremlett, Madrid correspondent for the Guardian, 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. John Leonard, Harper's 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 That the West has a lot to forgive and forget is blue-sky clear in Giles Tremlett's GHOSTS OF SPAIN: TRAVELS THROUGH SPAIN AND ITS SECRET PAST (Walker, $26.95). Tremlett, Madrid correspondent for the Guardian, went native almost immediately upon his arrival in Spain twenty years ago. He wants us to see, hear, touch, and taste exactly why. He will drag us from the beaches of the Costa Blanca, where bikinis saved Spain for northern European tourism, to theslums of Seville, where abused Gypsies and authentic flamenco are still to be found. We will follow im from the brothels of Valencia to the alcazars of Al Andalus to the serpent and axe of Bilbao and Basque terror to the latest statistics on child-rearing, golf courses, homosexuality, and cocaine consumption. We meet drug dealers, real estate hustlers, soccer stars, corrupt businessmen and pols, incorruptible judges, not-so-former Falangist, and Opus Dei. We speak Catalan in Barcelona, listen to the cantigas of trovadores Galicia, look at Picasso' s Guernica in Madrid, watch Pedro Almodovar on TV in La Mancha, and learn that the novelist Camilo Jose Cela, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Literature, once upon a time snitched on fellow writers to Franco' s thugs. El Cid, Unamuno, Don Quixote, Garcia Lorca-- there are pages here on almost every exemplary, cautionary, and symbolic aspect of Old Spain and New except, perhaps, the Manolete Mausoleum in Cordoba; Tremlett doesn' t much care for bullfighting. But mostly there are ghosts. And most of these ghosts belong to the Spanish Civil War and Franco' s subsequent fascistic Brigadoon. In return for a bloodless transition to democracy after the dictator' s death in 1975, all sides seem to have signed some unspoken agreement to subscribe to what Tremlett calls Amnistia and Amnesia -- a plague of forgetting right out of One Hundred Years of Solitude. But now the bodies buried in nameless dumps are turning up, literally, wherever ground is broken for a shopping mall. And nothing like South Africa' s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has ever occurred to Spain, because nobody like Nelson Mandela has ever exerted an influence. Tremlett is excited, hopeful, worried. If we already know that, at our worst, we are capable of radical evil, can' t we dream that our best might muster some radical good? Then, also waiting to be heard from, there are those other Spanish ghosts: the Moor and the Jew. -John Leonard, Harper's

Book Information

ISBN: 9780571279395
Publication date: 5th April 2012
Author: Giles Tremlett
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 496 pages
Categories: Travel writing,

About Giles Tremlett

Giles Tremlett is the Guardian's Madrid correspondent. He has lived in Spain - and written extensively about the country and its people - almost continuously since graduating from Oxford University thirty years ago. His books include Ghosts of Spain, described as a 'brilliant evocation of Spain . . . vivid and sensitive' (Spectator) and Catherine of Aragon, which BBC History Magazine called 'Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Spain.'

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