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The Gypsies Paperback – September, 1987

ISBN-13: 978-0881333053 ISBN-10: 0881333050 Edition: 9th Printing

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The Gypsies + Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey + We Are the Romani People
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Waveland Pr Inc; 9th Printing edition (September 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881333050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881333053
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

In a rare publishing event, Jan Yoors' The Gypsies became an instant classic upon its original publication. Waveland Press is proud to make this extraordinary work available again. The reprint includes a stunning section of photographs taken by the author during his travels with European Gypsies. Titles of related interest from Waveland Press: Gmelch, Nan: The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman (ISBN 9780881336023) and Sutherland, Gypsies: The Hidden Americans (ISBN 9780881332353).

From the Back Cover

"Fascinating. A lyrical tribute, a unique inside view." -- Newsweek

"An exciting firsthand impression of life in a Gypsy camp forever on the move. A most valuable and original contribution." -- New York Times Book Review

"Beautifully evokes a way of life in which freedom and independence still survive." -- Sir Herbert Read

"Unquestionably the only book ever written from the inside of this most mysterious and elusive group of people. Beautifully written. A treasure. I think you will find it difficult to stop reading this unique and personal love song for a way of life." -- Houston Post

"Absolutely delightful." -- Margaret Mead

"Unique. No stay-at-home can read the book without a stab of yearning. . . . Reading it is like gulping in fresh air and experiencing a vicarious release from the complications of `civilized' living." -- Minneapolis Tribune

"Enchanting. There are many surprising revelations . . . but most amazing is the spell that is cast on the reader." -- Columbus Dispatch

"Exciting, fascinating . . . we not only understand but also actually envy the Romani soul, and feel as though we would gladly shed a few of our encumbrances to join them." -- Chicago's American

"Of course any right thinking boy would dream about joining a Gypsy caravan, but Jan Yoors actually left his comfortable home and found a nomadic life as splendid as his dreams. And now he has enough of the poet in him to convey his timeless, routineless, endless fascination of wandering through a changing countryside, creeping through frontiers, part of a mysterious society." -- Christian Science Monitor


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Jan Yoors' half life as a Gypsy is unlike any other account you'll read about the Rom.
Arthur A. Anderson
I love reading, and anyone who enjoys reading and who finds the Gypsy (Romany) culture fascinating will thoroughly enjoy this book.
GypsyWitch Caroline
Reading this book taught me more than about Gypsies, but also the need to keep an open mind in the face of uninformed prejudices.
Steve Kohn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jan Yoors ran away at a young age from his phenomenally understanding Belgian parents and lived on and off with a Lowara gypsy kumpana for many years. Always split between the worlds of the Gajo (European) and Rom (Gypsy) he nevertheless became one of them though never totally abandoning his European heritage. His writing is nothing short of miraculous; lyrical, clear and touching. Jan Yoors also wrote a follow up book (Crossings) about his years in the Resistance during WWII. Both books are truly wonderful. If you read any book about the Romany people, this should be the one.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By T. Krebbs on August 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am of Romani descent, my ancestors were Czech, and as a girl my great-grandmother told me fascinating stories about her family's nomadic lifestyle. For me, Yoors' work was a continuation of my grannies stories. Of all the material I have read on the Romani, I found "The Gypsies" to be the most concise. Yoors had the amazing opportunity to not only observe the Romani society, but also to be absorbed into it. The readers are given the rare gift of seeing dual sides of the story. Because of his young age, he was able to enter into their society with few cultural biases. At the same time, because he was a gaje he was able to appreciate and embrace the cultural differences. This is a wonderful chronicle of a beautiful culture, which unfortunately is fading fast. For infomation on present day Romani, "Bury Me Standing" by Isabel Fonseca is a great resource.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By S. McCallister on September 17, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jan Yoors parents let the gypies take their child -- literally. That's a lurid way to describe it, but they let him spend his summers traveling with gypsies for many years during his youth. This book tells that story, and it is equal parts transporting magical memories and anthropology.

Like many others, I read this book in college 20+ years ago and it has remained a favorite ever since. A few copies of this have passed through my hands, been lent to others, and disappeared. It was out of print for a long time, so it is wonderful to see it available again.

Discover this book and I'll bet you lose a copy or two as you recommend and pass it on to others.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William G. Oliver on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
First I have to admit I am a gaje. However, I have an adopted grandson who is Gypsy. He is from a small town in Hungary near the Russian border. I have read a number of books related to the Gypsys and without a doubt this is absoultely the best as it deals with the lives of the Gypsy rather than the meaningless statistics of them or the hardships they have endured. The book left me with a number of unanswered questions such as what happened to Pulika and some of the others that Jan Yoors was associated with during his travels. I have somewhat of an understanding of why Yoors wrote the book in the manner in which he did because of the phylosophy of the Gypsys and their concept of today, completely disregarding yesterday and tomorrow as well as his deep feeling for those with whom he was associated. I found the answer to my questions by reading a follow-up article which answered most of my questions. That article is located at the following website and I would suggest reading this article only after reading the book. It is most unfortunate that Jan Yoors died at such a young age as he obviously had much to offer humanity in its consideration and accepatance of those who are unlike ourselves, but who at the same time have much to offet our society, regardless of the differences in customs and heritage. My grandson has taught me much about being different, which is a lesson much appreciated. Jan Yoors has done mankind a great service in sharing his experiences with us. God rest his soul and give him peace as the Gypsys would want. The site for a follow-up is [...]
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By yo-tambien on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I came across this book without much intention, and it proved to be a revealing, first-hand account of the traveling Rom peoples of Europe in the early 20th century. Yoors lived with the Rom on and off through their genocidal persecution under Hitler's regime. A lyrical writer, Yoors captures a detailed essence of these people whose seemingly mysterious ways, he points out, were often perpetuated by the Rom themselves as defense mechanisms against civilized culture (or Gadje, the outsiders). His account demonstrates personal and cultural revelations about how the Rom have been persecuted through time in the form of outright racism, genocide, and overt hostility which continues through today. The US only recently -- 1998 -- decided to stop officially discriminating against US-based Rom, and the word 'gyp' is still commonly used as a slur even among seemingly enlightened people. More importantly, Yoors' account reveals how, despite the racist, mysterious, mainstream view of the Rom, they instead lived a relatively carefree, dependable lifestyle in which each tribal member was (is) cared for.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Looft on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book helped me understand how the Gypsies fit into society and more importantly, how their family and social structure operates. It didn't go so much into the history of the Gypsies, so I recommend other books if your objective is to find out every detail of their history. But one thing the author points out is that the Gypsies see us (Ganji) as rediculous people who deserve to be told lies - so I wonder how much real information is out there about their history.

What I DID learn is how structured and reverent their own rules are about how they treat each other. Some of which, especially concerning their attitudes on cleanliness and respect for each other, were particularly interesting and at times seemed more strict than in our societies.

Overall, an easy read and provides a great glimpse into a world none of us knows too much about.
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