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Timely . . . brilliant . . . hugely enjoyable, magnificently researched and deeply absorbing. Jason Goodwin, New York Times Book Review"
Brings to life a remarkable era after the 1925 establishment of the Turkish Republic, when the storied city of Istanbul stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism via its ethnically diverse population and importance in the key historical events and cultural movements of the early 20th century. 25,000 first printing.
For more than two millennia Istanbul has stood at the crossroads of the world, perched at the very tip of Europe, gazing across at the shores of Asia. The history of this city—known as Byzantium, then Constantinople, now Istanbul—is at once glorious, outsized, and astounding. Founded by the Greeks, its location blessed it as a center for trade but also made it a target of every empire in history, from Alexander the Great and his Macedonian Empire, to the Romans and later the Ottomans. At its most spectacular, Istanbul was re-founded by Emperor Constantine I as New Rome, the capital of the eastern Roman Empire. He dramatically expanded the city, filling it with artistic treasures, and adorning the streets with opulent palaces. Constantine built new walls around it all—walls that were truly impregnable and preserved power, wealth, and withstood any aggressor—walls that still stand for tourists to visit. From its ancient past to the present, we meet the city through its ordinary citizens—the Jews, Muslims, Italians, Greeks, and Russians who used the famous baths and walked the bazaars, and the rulers who built it up and then destroyed it, including Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who christened the city "Istanbul" in 1930. Thomas Madden's entertaining narrative brings to life the city we see today, including the rich splendor of the churches and monasteries that spread throughout the city. Istanbul draws on a lifetime of study and the latest scholarship, transporting readers to a city of unparalleled importance and majesty that holds the key to understanding modern civilization. In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, "If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital."
"Rich and riveting, complex and compelling, powerful and poetic."—Peter M. Gianotti, Newsday In Odessa, the greatest port on the Black Sea, a dream of cosmopolitan freedom inspired geniuses and innovators, from the writers Alexander Pushkin and Isaac Babel to Zionist activist Vladimir Jabotinsky and immunologist Ilya Mechnikov. Yet here too was death on a staggering scale, as World War II brought the mass murder of Jews carried out by the city’s Romanian occupiers. Odessa is an elegy for the vibrant, multicultural tapestry of which a thriving Jewish population formed an essential part, as well as a celebration of the survival of Odessa’s dream in a diaspora reaching all the way to Brighton Beach.
“Timely . . . brilliant . . . hugely enjoyable, magnificently researched and deeply absorbing.”—Jason Goodwin, New York Times Book Review At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock. Yet in Istanbul—an ancient crossroads and Turkey's largest city—people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home to generations of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, as well as Muslims. It welcomed White Russian nobles ousted by the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik assassins on the trail of the exiled Leon Trotsky, German professors, British diplomats, and American entrepreneurs—a multicultural panoply of performers and poets, do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. During the Second World War, thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe found passage through Istanbul, some with the help of the future Pope John XXIII. At the Pera Palace, Istanbul's most luxurious hotel, so many spies mingled in the lobby that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish their seats to paying guests. In beguiling prose and rich character portraits, Charles King brings to life a remarkable era when a storied city stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism.
Offering a penetrating view of Jewish society and culture, the essays in this volume shed light on a little-known chapter of Jewish history. Written by scholars from Israel, Turkey, Europe and the United States, it presents a broad historical canvas that brings together different perspectives and viewpoints. Its contents include essays on: the foundations of Ottaman-jewish cooperation; Rabbinic literature in the late Byzantine and early Ottoman periods; Jewish contributions to Ottoman medicine between 1450 and 1800; and Jewish female education in the Ottoman Empire between 1840 and 1914.
From the New York Times bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a riveting journey through one of Europe’s frontier countries—and a potent examination of the forces that will determine Europe’s fate in the postmodern age. Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners were paying attention. What ensued was a lifelong obsession with a critical, often overlooked country—a country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe. In Europe’s Shadow is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the making—the story of a journalist coming of age, and a country struggling to do the same. Through the lens of one country, Kaplan examines larger questions of geography, imperialism, the role of fate in international relations, the Cold War, the Holocaust, and more. Here Kaplan illuminates the fusion of the Latin West and the Greek East that created Romania, the country that gave rise to Ion Antonescu, Hitler’s chief foreign accomplice during World War II, and the country that was home to the most brutal strain of Communism under Nicolae Ceaușescu. Romania past and present are rendered in cinematic prose: the ashen faces of citizens waiting in bread lines in Cold War–era Bucharest; the Bărăgan Steppe, laid bare by centuries of foreign invasion; the grim labor camps of the Black Sea Canal; the majestic Gothic church spires of Transylvania and Maramureş. Kaplan finds himself in dialogue with the great thinkers of the past, and with the Romanians of today, the philosophers, priests, and politicians—those who struggle to keep the flame of humanism alive in the era of a resurgent Russia. Upon his return to Romania in 2013 and 2014, Kaplan found the country transformed yet again—now a traveler’s destination shaped by Western tastes, yet still emerging from the long shadows of Hitler and Stalin. In Europe’s Shadow is the story of an ideological and geographic frontier—and the book you must read in order to truly understand the crisis Europe faces, from Russia and from within. Praise for In Europe’s Shadow “[A] haunting yet ultimately optimistic examination of the human condition as found in Romania . . . Kaplan’s account of the centuries leading up to the most turbulent of all—the twentieth—is both sweeping and replete with alluring detail.”—Alison Smale, The New York Times Book Review “This book reveals the confident, poetical Kaplan . . . but also a reflective, political Kaplan, seeking at times to submerge his gift for romantic generalization in respectful attention to the ideas of others.”—Timothy Snyder, The Washington Post “A serious yet impassioned survey of Romania . . . Kaplan is a regional geographer par excellence.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Kaplan is one of America’s foremost writers on the region. . . . In a series of deep dives into the region’s past—Byzantine, Ottoman, Habsburg and Soviet—he finds parallels and echoes that help us understand the present.”—The Wall Street Journal “Kaplan moves seamlessly from sights, sounds, and conversations to the resonance of history.”—Foreign Affairs From the Hardcover edition.

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