Istanbul is unique. It is the only city in the world where two continents meet. Enjoy old and new in the cultural capital of Turkey with Istanbul expert Marc Guillet

New books on Istanbul

Posted on 23 December 2014

pera palaceBefore you pack your bags and head to Istanbul take some time to read one of these new books on the recent history of Istanbul. You will discover the city with different eyes.

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul’, by Charles King.

“This book tells of the unfamiliar interwar period, perhaps the most humbling era for the world’s one-time greatest metropolis, which necessarily makes it shorter on gilt and glory than it is on pawnshops, penury and the stench of stale wine.

It’s a counter-intuitive approach, but one that succeeds brilliantly in portraying the eclipsed city and its often exotic cast of the destitute, the dispossessed and the defiant – prostituted Russian princesses, scheming spies, out-of-work artists, impresarios and arms dealers as well as familiar figures like Leon Trotsky, Kemal Ataturk and Turkey’s national poet Nazim Hikmet – at a time of unparalleled social upheaval.” From review by Jeremy Seal in The Telegraph.

Read the review here:

And this is a quote from the review in The Economist:

“Charles King, a historian and social scientist at Georgetown University, has chosen an unusual way of capturing this dizzying volatility. His book, “Midnight at the Pera Palace”, examines one shortish slice of history, from late Ottoman times to the second world war and its immediate aftermath, and one small site: a hotel which at various times has epitomised luxury, faded elegance, downright seediness and conspiracy.”

Read the review here:

And this is the other book I want to recommend:

Galata, Pera, Beyoglu: A Biography, by the great historian of Istanbul, John Freely, and his translator son, Brendan Freely. It is a composite of two types of city books: a guide book and a history book.

Read the reviews here:



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