A couple holds hands as they look at the image of a young couple who were killed in the Madrid train bombings at the "Forest of the Remembrance" (El Bosque del Recuerdo), a memorial garden which commemorates the victims of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, in Madrid, Spain, March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Having lived in Spain for years, British journalist Giles Tremlett knows the country well and presents a beautifully written, eye-opening look at the complex place, both its past and its present. Combining travelogue with social and political history, Tremlett visits various regions, discusses the March 2004 Madrid train bombings by Islamist radicals, examines the effects of the Spanish Civil War, and unearths truths about Francisco Franco's military dictatorship, among other things.
The Madrid train bombings (also known in Spain as 11-M) were nearly simultaneous, coordinated bombings against the Cercanías (commuter train) system of city of Madrid, Spain on the morning of 11 March 2004 – three days before Spain's general elections. The explosions killed 191 people and wounded 1,800. The official investigation by the Spanish Judiciary determined the attacks were directed by an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell, although no direct al-Qaeda participation was found.