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Farewell to Salonica: City at the Crossroads Paperback


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Farewell to Salonica: City at the Crossroads + Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews  1430-1950 + Twice a Stranger: The Mass Expulsions that Forged Modern Greece and Turkey
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589880021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589880023
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" . . . written in a charming and effortless manner." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A fresh and charming book that throws a kindly light on a sector of human life unknown to most Americans." -- New York Times

"A warm and softly luminous book." -- The Nation

"It creates an atmosphere of expectation and wonder and enjoyment." -- Christian Science Monitor

"Not much living and breathing history has been written about Macedonia. This book is welcome." -- The Post, Boston

"The author has made Salonica a living town." -- New York Herald Tribune

"This picture of a Jewish childhood among rich merchants in Salonica has a glow." -- Chicago Sun

About the Author

Leon Sciaky was born in 1894, when the Turkish flag still waved over Salonica. His family left their beloved but turbulent homeland in 1915, settling in New York City. Sciaky lived in America--mainly upstate New York--with his wife, Frances, and son until his death in 1958. He taught at a number of progressive schools and camps and, in his last years, owned and operated a school and camp with Frances.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John E. Fischer on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I discovered this book by reading Mazower's book. This was a pure delight to read. The author brought me back to a Thessaloniki I had learned about in Mazower, but added the warm, personal details of family life and interaction among the groups which made up Salonica in the early 20th century. I didn't want the book to end. I was surprised to learn that it had been published quite a while ago and that the author's child added an epilogue. I wish I had read it before and wandered the streets to find some of the landmarks.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Shapiro on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book about one of the world's most interesting cities. It wouldn't appear obvious today because Thessaloniki (as it's called in Greek today as in ancient times) gives the impression of being a wholly-Greek and modern big city, but it was anything but that for the 500 years prior to World War I: it was a multinational, multicultural Balkan port city of the Ottoman Empire, whose largest single ethnic group was Sephardic Jews from Spain, Portugal and Italy and whose lingua franca was Judeo-Spanish ("Ladino"), a language very close to modern Spanish (and different from it primarily in that the former has sounds and syntax that were current in Castilian speech 500 years ago but have since changed or disappeared as the Spanish language developed over time). The book is written from the point of view of a Sephardic Jewish Salonican who senses (rightly) that the golden age of the city as a Jewish metropolis (or a multicultural one, for that matter) are coming to an end and conveys that general sense about as well as could possibly be done. (Although, needless to say, he could not possibly have anticipated the wholesale slaughter of nearly the entire Jewish community which occurred barely 30 years later.)
This book actually inspired me to go to Salonica (Thessaloniki) and see for myself. Judeo-Spanish is still spoken, but only by the elderly Sephardic Jews (everyone else speaks Greek), and at the one synagogue at which outsiders are able to attend services there is rigorous scrutiny of all people other than regular congregants -- such are the times, and such is the city's historic memory. Apart from the physical setting (on a horseshoe-shaped bay with Mt.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Farewell To Salonica: City At The Crossroads is the autobiography of Leon Sciaky and tells of his having grown up in Salonica (now called Thessaloniki), in Greece. A remarkable view of a place where Sephardic Jews, Greeks, Turks, Macedonians, Albanians, and Bulgarians all met, traded, and went about their daily lives. A superbly written memoir, Farewell to Salonica is a heartfelt, highly recommended testimony to a memorable city and a cultural mecca.
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