Midnight at the Pera Palace

Midnight at the Pera Palace

The Birth of Modern Istanbul

Book - 2014
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"When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, so many spies mingled in the lobby of Istanbul's Pera Palace Hotel that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish seats to paying guests. As the multi-ethnic empire became a Turkish republic, Russian émigrés sold family heirlooms, an African American impresario founded a jazz club, Miss Turkey became the first Muslim beauty queen, and a Boston professor unveiled the lost treasures of the Hagia Sophia. Turkey's president Kemal Atatürk, Muslim feminist Halide Edip, the exiled Leon Trotsky, and the future Pope John XXIII fought for new visions of human freedom. During World War II, German intellectuals ran from the Nazis while Jewish activists spirited refugees out of occupied Europe. In this pioneering portrait of urban reinvention, Charles King re-creates an era when an ancient city became a global crossroads -- a forgotten moment when Europe's closest Muslim metropolis became its vital port of refuge; 'Intrigue, violence, sex, and espionage, all set against the slow dimming of Ottoman magnificence. I loved this book'--Simon Winchester"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton and Company,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393089141
Branch Call Number: ANF 949.618024 KIN
Characteristics: 475 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

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r
roystreet
Aug 06, 2015

I first stayed at the Pera Palas in 1972, and it was like visiting Miss Havisham's rooms in "Great Expectations." My strongest impression was of stepping into a time-capsule from the 1920's, if not the Belle Epoque. Reading this book is like listening to stories from a well-informed ex-pat over a glass of brandy. Delightful.

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r
roystreet
Aug 06, 2015

I'm involved in a dangerous game,
Every other day I change my name,
My face is different, but the body's the same,
Boo Boo Baby, I'm a spy.

I'm a lad not altogether bad,
In fact, I'm a damn good lover,
But, listen, sweet, let's be discreet,
And do this under cover.

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