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The Gypsies


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations. Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. Origins. 2. Early Migrations. 3. Into the Byzantine Empire and the Balkans. 4. The Great Trick. 5. The Turn of the Tide. 6. Pressure of the Gyves. 7. Forces for Change. 8. The Approach to Avernus. 9. Modern Times. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Sir Angus Fraser died on May 27, 2001, aged 73. He was Chairman of the UK Board of Customs and Excise and from 1988 to 1992 was Adviser to the Prime Minister on Efficiency in Government. He was knighted in 1985. He published extensively on the Gypsies.


British civil servant Fraser offers a thorough, scholarly survey of the origins and history of the Gypsies, the wandering pilgrims who arrived in the Balkans during the Middle Ages and gradually spread over Europe and beyond. In an academic but readable style, he writes of the Gypsies' linguistic and anthropological background, their migrations through Persia and Europe, the 15th-century persecution of them and their attempts to survive repressive legislation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, attitudes toward the Gypsies became somewhat more benign, though the Gypsies continued to resist assimilation. Fraser mentions that Gypsies joined the waves of immigrants to the United States but does not elaborate on their experiences here. After discussing Nazi repression and extermination of Gypsies, he addresses current conditions: migrations are spurred primarily by economic concerns, pentecostal Christianity is becoming popular and Gypsies are forming political organizations. Illustrations. (Dec.)

"The best general book on the Gypsies." Choice. "This is an important book. Anyone interested in Roma in this country or elsewhere should read it." Traveller. "Everyone has an opinion on Gypsies, and no one knows any. The opinions are almost always bad. Unfortunately, there's more published information available on the Martians than on Gypsies. Into the breach comes Angus Fraser with an accessible, well-informed introduction." Voice Literary Review. "A particularly fascinating study, not least because of the author's precise and engaging use of the English language ... An absolutely essential foundation for embarking on this rapidly growing field." Contemporary Sociology. "An important and welcomed contribution to the study of Gypsies." Man: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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