Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430-1950

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2005 - 490 pages
Salonica, City of Ghosts is an evocation of the life of a vanished city and an exploration of how it passed away. Under the rule of the Ottoman sultans, one of the most extraordinary and diverse societies in Europe lived for five centuries amid its minarets and cypresses on the shore of the Aegean, alongside its Roman ruins and Byzantine monasteries. Egyptian merchants and Ukrainian slaves, Spanish-speaking rabbis–refugees from the Iberian Inquisition–and Turkish pashas rubbed shoulders with Orthodox shopkeepers, Sufi dervishes and Albanian brigands. Creeds clashed and mingled in an atmosphere of shared piety and messianic mysticism. How this bustling, cosmopolitan and tolerant world emerged and then disappeared under the pressure of modern nationalism is the subject of this remarkable book.

The historian Mark Mazower, author of the greatly praised Dark Continent, follows the city's inhabitants through the terrors of plague, invasion and famine, and takes us into their taverns, palaces, gardens and brothels. Drawing on an astonishing array of primary sources, Mazower's vivid narrative illuminates the multicultural fabric of this great city and describes how its fortunes changed as the empire fell apart and the age of national enmities arrived. In the twentieth century, the Greek army marched in, and fire and world war wrought their grim transformation. Thousands of refugees arrived from Anatolia, the Muslims were forced out, and the Nazis deported and killed the Jews. This richly textured homage to the world that went with them uncovers the memory of what lies buried beneath Salonica's prosperous streets and recounts the haunting story of how the three great faiths that shared the city were driven apart.

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User Review  - vguy - LibraryThing

The perfect book to read on first visit to 'thessaloniki. Unfolds the many layers of this extraordinary "border town", and how the complexity got shaved away over the course of the 20th century by ... Read full review

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User Review  - TrgLlyLibrarian - LibraryThing

I learned a lot from this book, and I admire Mazower's ability to form such a complete account of Salonica. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
The Rose of Sultan Murad
15
Conquest 1430
17
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Mark Mazower is professor of history at Columbia University and Birkbeck College, London. His books include Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941—44, winner of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History and the Longman/History Today Award for Book of the Year. He lives in New York City.

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