Spain, for all the dramatic changes it has undergone since Franco’s death in 1975, is still widely perceived by foreigners in terms of its traditional stereotypes. Fortunately, and in welcome contrast to many other recent books on the country, the initial motivation behind Giles Tremlett’s Ghosts of Spain is neither flamenco, nor bullfighting, nor Don Quixote, nor even Spain’s Islamic past. Instead, Tremlett’s ‘travels’ around his adopted land are triggered off by an interest in the excavation, over the last few years, of the mass graves of Civil War victims.
Anyone who has spent any time in a close-knit Spanish community will have experienced the general reluctance to discuss openly local participation in the Civil War. Many Spaniards still believe that there are aspects of this past which are best left buried; and heated debates often ensue as to whether