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Odessa

Genius and Death in a City of Dreams
Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams. Norton. Feb. 2011. c.352p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780393070842. $27.95. HIST
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King (international affairs & government, Georgetown Univ.; The Black Sea: A History) undertakes to trace the development, history, and character of Odessa, that southern Ukrainian seaport on the Black Sea, while simultaneously studying the impact of the Jewish population of eastern Europe on the region's history and culture. By sharing a series of vignettes, portraits of Odessa through the eyes or actions of some of its more colorful or influential residents, both singular and in group populations, across the ages, King evokes the dichotomy and conflict that lay below the beauty of this rugged city. While enthusiastically written with obvious love and knowledge of Odessa, the parts of the book seem slightly disconnected, as the city's composition and history are perhaps too much for one book. King's narrative and insights do open several avenues for further research and reveal the truths behind many old myths.
VERDICT History buffs, religious history enthusiasts, or lovers of that great city will enjoy this work for the portraits shared and the images it evokes.

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