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“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.
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.
One of Time's 12 Books for the History Buffs on Your Holiday Gift List The first single-volume history of Istanbul in decades: a biography of the city at the center of civilizations past and present. For more than two millennia Istanbul has stood at the crossroads of the world, perched at the very tip of Europe, gazing across 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 Emperor Constantine I re-founded the city as New Rome, the capital of the eastern Roman empire, and dramatically expanded the city, filling it with artistic treasures, and adorning the streets with opulent palaces. Around it all Constantine built new walls, truly impregnable, that 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 F. 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.
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.
Character is indispensable to a successful career and a happy life. It’s also essential to our liberty, because if a society can’t govern itself, then government must step in to police our decisions and actions. Sounds pretty heavy, right? Well, the good news is that character is nothing more than the sum of our choices, and it is something every one of us has total control over. And here’s even better news: this book gives us flesh-and-blood models—men and women whose choices and actions make them heroes. The forty people Lawrence W. Reed profiles in this accessible, inspirational book are not the usual examples. Some are well-known historical and cultural figures, yes—but Real Heroes also features many remarkable people you have never heard of. Reed ranges far and wide—from the distant past to the present; from the United States, to Europe, to Asia; from statesmen to scientists, athletes to inventors, entrepreneurs to theologians, and writers to teachers. Concise and compelling, Real Heroes features a bulleted summary of key facts and takeaways at the end of each profile. This book will become a treasured resource for parents and teachers and a favorite of readers of all ages.

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