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Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past Paperback – 16 Mar 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; Open Market - Airside ed edition (16 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571221696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571221691
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 971,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Spain.' -- BBC History Magazine

'It would be hard to think of a better introduction to this wonderfully diverse nation. ... There is something for everyone.' -- Mail on Sunday

'Tremlett's lively and well-informed Ghosts of Spain is at once a history, a journalistic inquiry and a travel book.' -- Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

Ghost of Spain by Giles Tremlett, in a newly revised and updated edition of the Guardian journalist's journey through contemporary Spain examining the darker sides of its history. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Tremlett is a witty, trenchant and astute observer of modern Spain. Being an outsider will forever condemn him in the eyes of Spaniards wishing their past would go quietly into the night; and yet it is just his outsider status that allows him to couple the telling quote with the ascerbic-yet-loving anecdote. His chapter on flamenco is an outsider's paean to his adopted country. The chapter on Benidorm combines high-comedy, bathos and despair in equal measure. His writing is at its best when his natural wit and humour come to the fore, traits which lift this book well-above the usual 'foreign correspondent does foreign country' diatribe. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This was the book I had been looking for for a long time; something that would give me an insight into what makes the modern spain and the spaniard 'tick'. I knew a little about recent spanish history but didn't want to delve headlong into book after book about the moors, the civil war, franco etc. This book provides a perfect summarisation of all of these and a whole lot more. An incredible amount has happened to Spain in recent times and the future promises a lot more. This book will hopefully provide a useful insight into where Spain has come from and where its heading in the future. Not a book that can be rushed through. Take your time and digest as one would with a good meal.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a balance between an accurately researched and passionately personal account of Spain past and present. Having lived in Spain for a short while - I felt it captured precisely the atmosphere of this fascinating and multi-levelled culture which eludes so many of us. Tremlett has obviously met this Herculean task of unveiling a complicated history and multi-facetted culture with great sensitivity and compassion. He covers complicated and sensitive isues such as the Franco era, ETA and Basque culture and history aswell as flamenco and the history of tourism and the Spaniard's relation to all these issues today.
The author's compassion for the Spaniards and their past is offset by the precision of the journalist's eye for the politically explosive and important issues which have come into the public eye recently. He delves deeply with great passion and understanding into a culture he has adopted as his own but to which he will never belong. At times I felt I was reading a scintillating novel and at others I was reading a political account. The author manages to synthesise these beautifully! If you have ever been to Spain, want to go to Spain or are just interested in the country, read this book!
It will deepen your compassion and expand your understanding of a culture that has had so many ties with our own over the years.
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Format: Hardcover
Having spent a week travelling around the north west coast of Spain I found this book to be the perfect companion. The Spain of popular imagination is highly seductive to the English but Tremlett reveals a country that is culturally and politically more like a federation. It is a vast country by European standards and the author takes us from the verdant and windswept Galicia to the arid plains of Castilla-Leon to the sun drenched paradise of Seville. Along the way, he encounters a people who suffered the torment of losing an empire, a civil war and lived under a dictatorship until a little more than a generation ago. The book's strength lies in Tremlett's hybrid status - he is an Anglosaxon down to his bones but is obviously an Hispanophile who has found a new identity in a country he loves. This coupled with his journalistic eye results in the first book since John Hooper's The Spaniards to really try to get under the skin of a country that fascinates, confuses and irritates in equal measures.
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Format: Hardcover
I disagree with much of what has been said in the previous reviews of this book. This book is anything but boring. It should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in more than just the beaches of the Spanish costas.

Giles Tremlett is a great story-teller, and yet at the same time he manages to give a nice overview of Spanish history, politics, social and cultural life. There is not a single theme of importance not covered by this book, and his fine writing skills allow the author to deal with his various subjects in style.

The overarching theme is to show how Spanish history still weighs heavily in today's society. And while there is a lot more to say about modern Spain, Tremlett's book is short enough to be read at a nice holiday in Spain. To a certain extent, it replaces a travel guide because it manages to raise the interest of the visitor in many of those wonderful places that exist in Spain.

It is beside the point to argue about the views held by the author. And although he sometimes doesn't hold back his opinion, Tremlett always argues his case well.

This is not propaganda-style writing (as is the case in many Spanish-language books on the topics covered by the author). The book is well-researched and well-written, and above all: balanced.

Well done!
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Format: Hardcover
An indispensable introduction to the complex politics and fast-shifting culture of Spain over the last thirty years, Ghosts of Spain presents an engaging and highly readable account of the country's remarkable transition from stagnant authoritarianism to vigorous democracy. The opening chapters on the partly hidden legacy of the Civil War and Francoism are quite outstanding as Tremlett gives reasons for Spain's extraordinary lack of either reconciliation or recrimination. Recent scandals and the often-related construction and tourist booms are smartly handled and the detour to the heart of flamenco is genuinely moving. The author is much less sure-footed on the chapters on Basque and Catalan nationalism, revealing an unfortunate and disappointingly clichéd Madrid metropolitan bias. Although the book also suffers from what seems to have been hasty editing, the recompense is Tremlett's a fine journalistic sensitivity for place and people and a genuine love for his subject.
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