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Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey Paperback – October 29, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067973743X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737438
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

They travel endlessly and seem to appear almost everywhere, yet they are the world's most mysterious people: Gypsies. Isabel Fonseca has done the impossible, entering into their world, living and traveling with Gypsies during several long trips to Eastern Europe, and she has brought back an insightful, highly personal, and very readable account of who the Gypsies are and how they live. The Gypsies have a legendary aversion to "gadje," or outsiders, but Fonseca has lifted the curtain and written gracefully about their lives on the edge of society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

An exploration of the frequently persecuted and misunderstood Gypsy population of eastern Europe.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book is easy to read and understand.
Darren Rushing (rushing@tstar.net)
Learning about them in a social, cultural, and psychological view, as well as the historical, made for a comprehensive overview as well as first-hand observations.
The book is very informational and very well written.
Kevin Todd Clepps

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book opens with a chapter on the great Romany poet, Papusza (born as Bronislawa Wajs), which appeared earlier in The New Yorker. As Fonseca tells us, Papusza wrote a long autobiographical ballad about hiding in the forests during World War II--"Bloody Tears: What We Went Through Under the Germans in Volhynia in the Years 43 and 44." Discovered by the Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski in 1949, Papusza also wrote of the Jewish experience and "the vague threat of the gadjikane" (non-Gypsy) world." But her 1987 death in Poland, where she had lived most of her life, went unnoticed.
That is an appropriate beginning, for this book is not academic anthropology--and it more than admirably explains, from the Roma point of view, what it means to live in a world that remains largely threatening to the Roma. The book is not uniformly complimentary. But Fonseca lived for a period with Roma families, learned their separate and distinct Romany language, traveled across Eastern Europe with them, observed the poverty-stricken ghettos and mud hovels in which the poorest made their beds. And one finds in her closeness to them a sympathy altogether lacking in many other works.
Fonseca writes of her own extensive experience, of course, but also refers to more than 140 scholars, including the fine work of Rom professor Ian Hancock and Jan Yoors. The latter likewise lived among Roma, albeit during the pre-war and World War II eras.
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102 of 110 people found the following review helpful By "baranja2428" on March 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
My husband and myself are from one of the largest Rom villages in the former Yugoslavia. While we found Isabel Fonseca's book entertaining, some the information was inadequate. Most of the rituals and superstions she describes are not adheared to in our village at all. American Rom sometimes cling to these beliefs because they do not want to become assimilated into society. In our country that will never be the case. We will never be seen as equals, or as Slovenes,nor would we be treated as Slovenes. Our village is known for its celebration of Rom culture and its independence. We have our own stores, bars, disco, drama club, folklore dance group and are members of the International Romani Union. We speak only Romani in the home. While we do not adhear to the stringent codes of behavior that Fonseca's Rom subscibe to, we still remain a separate minority in society - and we are proud to be Roma!
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Fonseca writes intelligently, integrating many sources and personal observations, but this book remains rather too narrowly intent upon rather journalistic glimpses of Roma life throughout 1990s East-Central Europe. She combines her own interviews and reading with reflections upon how "gypsies" and Jews coexist and play off each other's stereotypes in the eyes of the dominant culture that illuminate from her own perspective (her mother's Jewish) how marginalized peoples have to survive often on the less respectable fringes of a world that both inflates and diminishes the power of "the Other." Especially revealing is her exploration of "the Devouring," the Roma cataclysm during WWII.

Others have commented on the fact that she only delves in-depth into one Albanian family, and I agree that this concentration lessens the impact of the rest of her book, which follows in a more general survey Roma in Bulgaria, Romania, Germany with glimpses in the Czech lands, Poland, and the Balkans. She refers to other "gypsies" in the West and India, and I realize that publication pressures may have limited her ability to give all the detail she may have wanted to, or, on the other hand, that she chose a few representative places and events to stand for the whole panorama.

But, I did feel that she sensed an exhaustion of the topic by the last chapter, a weary recounting of conferences and rather fruitless statements of purpose by "professional Gypsies" and the academic and public policy specialists who follow the Roma. She writes from an American identity but her prose uses Britishisms to arrive at an expat, mid-Atlantic style that makes her seem more detached from her subject than she may have meant.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Singh on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California, USA)

GYPSIES, the long-lost children of India, number about 16 million
worldwide. In Europe, the 12 million Gypsies constitute its largest
minority. Films like Tony Gatlif's "Latcho Drom: A Musical History
of the Gypsies from India to Spain" (1994) and books like Isabel Fonseca's
"Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey" will help ensure
that the Gypsies do not again disappear -- outside the world's

"Bury Me Standing" -- the title comes from the Gypsy saying, "Bury me
standing, I've been on my knees all my life"-- is a compassionate book
about a marginalized and much-maligned people. Nonetheless, over the past
seven centuries, the Gypsies have made many contributions to European folk
music, dance, and lore. An outstanding example of these contributions
--Flamenco-- highlights the Cannes award-winning "Latcho Drom ."

When Isabel Fonseca, an American journalist and former assistant editor of
the Times Literary Supplement, set out to write this book in 1991, she
"had in mind that the Gypsies were 'the New Jews of Eastern Europe.'"
After four years of field work that included living with Gypsy families in
many European countries and researching library documents, she concluded
that the Gypsies "alongside with the Jews are ancient scapegoats."

Traditionally, Gypsies did not keep any written records. The research on their origin
began with a philological analysis of their language, Romani, which has been firmly
established as a Sanskritic language.
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