Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Far Outliers in Salonica

I recently came across the fascinating blog Far Outliers: "Exploring migrants, exiles, expatriates, and out-of-the-way peoples, places, and times, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region."

Among its gems, I particularly recommend the series of extracts from Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950, by Mark Mazower (Vintage, 2006), a book I've been intending to read for some time. The extracts are filed here, along with other Balkan material.

8 comments:

Martin said...

Hi Bob

It's a great book - I'd strongly recommend it. I found it a real revelation -very good on the Spanish roots and Ladino culture of the Jewish community in Salonica - and a devastating account of its destruction by the Nazis.

See this post:

http://martininthemargins.blogspot.com/2007/05/history-and-identity-in-jaffa-and.html

Graeme said...

Mazower's Dark Continent is also a must-read if you haven't already read it.

The Contentious Centrist said...

This review of a new book that "explores the rich history of Turkey’s Dönme, Sephardic Jews who converted to Islam in the 1600s" is related:

http://www.tabletmag.com/arts-and-culture/books/23393/the-other-secret-jews/

bob said...

Thanks all. I have read Dark Continent, and thought it was superb. Martin, I loved your post. I've long been fascinated by the Donme, so I'll go and read the Tablet article now. Noga, your ancestors are Salonikan aren't they?

abravanel said...

The book is a nice piece of writing although not one of Mazower's best. It still makes a nice read simply because Salonica, as the first modern Jewish city, is simply utterly unknown to the rest of the world.

bob said...

Abravanel, any reading recommendations for us?

abravanel said...

For Salonica and/or Balcans?

As far as storytelling ability goes Mazower is excellent. And he is definitely on the right track, the only problem is that he was in the position to create a monumental book but he simply re-packaged existing stuff.*

* existing for me and he did mix them up wonderfully.

bob said...

Thanks!