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Odessa

Genius and Death in a City of Dreams

Charles King (Author, Georgetown University)

 

A colorful account of the transformation of one of Europe's foremost Jewish cities, told through the stories of its geniuses and villains.

Italian merchants, Greek freedom fighters, and Turkish seamen; a Russian empress and her favorite soldier-bureaucrats; Jewish tavern keepers, traders, and journalists—these and many others seeking fortune and adventure rubbed shoulders in Odessa, the greatest port on the Black Sea.

Here a dream of cosmopolitan freedom inspired geniuses and innovators, from Alexander Pushkin and Isaac Babel to Zionist activist Vladimir Jabotinsky and immunologist Ilya Mechnikov. Yet here too was death on a staggering scale: not only the insidious plagues common to seaports but also the mass murder of Jews carried out by the Romanian occupation during World War II. Drawing on a wealth of original source material, 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.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • February 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07084-2
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverOdessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams

    Paperback

Awards

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  1. Book CoverMidnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

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