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Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950

Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950 - Mark Mazower It's incredibly admirable that the author states he was first inspired to learn about the city after a visit with the military years ago. It's incredibly strange that I've spent so much time in today's version of the city based on this book. The city does seem to have a history thick with possibility, being a border city with many new immigrants over the years. Still the focus of the chapters leads me to believe that it is the city's apparently unique status as a Jewish centre of power in the Balkans which also motivated his interest. That isn't something he's trying to hide and it is an absolutely understandable focus for Salonica. But as he mentions in the book, the Jewish populace expressed a desire to stay with the Ottoman Empire. This is something he condones and even supports by minimizing the so-called time of slavery the Greeks describe under the Ottomans. I don't know enough about the Ottoman Empire or the Greek alternative, but it would seem the Greeks who took over Salonica and the Jews who used to form its majority may have been working at cross-purposes. It almost seems that the author should be thankful the Greeks were not more hostile than evinced by the digging up of a Jewish cemetery to build a university during Nazi occupation. It would seem the Greeks didn't have much patience for Turkish or ethnically Bulgarian citizens for one reason or another. The author alludes to nationalism becoming ethnic in the 19th-century and one wonders if it got its start in the Balkans and why. The book was thick with ideas, in short, fascinating spurts, so it was well-worth dipping into various sections, even if there are doubts about its overall focus.

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