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Salonica, City of Ghosts

The history of a rarely written about, bewilderingly exotic city: five hundred years of clashing cultures and peoples, from the glories of Suleiman the Magnificent to its nadir under Nazi occupation. Salonica is the point where the wonders and horrors of the Orient and Europe have met over the centuries. Written with a Pepysian sense of the texture of daily life in the city through the ages, and with breathtakingly detailed historical research, Salonica evokes the sights, smells, habits, songs and responses of a unique city and its inhabitants. The history of Salonica is one of forgotten alternatives and wrong choices, of identities assumed and discarded. For centuries Jews, Christians and Muslims have succeeded each other in ascendancy, each people intent on erasing the presence of their predecessors, and the result is a city of extraordinarily rich cultural traditions and memories of extreme violence and genocide, one that sits on the overlapping hinterlands of both Europe and the East. Mark Mazower has written a work of astonishing depth and originality about this remarkable city; magnificently researched and beautifully written, it is more than a book about a place; it studies in detail the way in which three great faiths and peoples have inhabited the same territory, and how smooth transitions and adaptations have been interwoven with violent endings and new beginnings.
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The history of a rarely written about, bewilderingly exotic city: five hundred years of clashing cultures and peoples, from the glories of Suleiman the Magnificent to its nadir under Nazi occupation. Stunningly detailed, original research presented with a Simon Schama-esque masterly, sweeping narrative style. Chosen as a Book of the Year in the Spectator and Sunday Telegraph. Competition: William Dalyrmple, Simon Schama, Antony Beevor

About the Author

Mark Mazower is the author of Inside Hitler's Greece (Yale), Dark Continent (Penguin Press) and The Balkans (Weidenfeld), and is published in the US by Knopf. He is professor of history at Birkbeck College, University of London.


'A tremendous book about a city unique not just in Europe, but in the entire history of humanity. Mazower ... has done the old place proud ... and has celebrated once and for all the mighty and fateful heritage of its citizens' Jan Morris, Guardian '[Mazower] sensitively analyses the internal debates and divisions which could be found within all the major communities.' Sunday Telegraph 'He [Mazower] has produced a brilliant reconstruction of one of Europe's great meting places between the three monotheistic faiths' The Economist 'Mazower is a formidable historian...he has produced a majestic work: the biography of a city, complete with soul and ichor.' Independent 'Enthrallingbrilliant...tragic, hopeful, beautifully written' TLS From Amazon readers' reviews of Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (Penguin, 1999) 'Easily the best one-volume history of Europe available: original, insightful, provocative and easy to read.' 'Mazower is masterly: a must read for anyone interested in politics or recent history. ' 'A superb introduction to a dying century. Mazower's work is always clear and concise. He reveals the fragility of democracy inside Europe over the last century and he has challenging insights that prompt us to think of the coming decades in creaking nation states. A must for the Millennium'

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