Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

by Charles King

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"Hugely enjoyable, magnificently researched, and deeply absorbing." —Jason Goodwin, New York Times Book Review

At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock.

Yet in Istanbul—an ancient crossroads and Turkey's largest city—people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home to generations of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, as well as Muslims. It welcomed White Russian nobles ousted by the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik assassins on the trail of the exiled Leon Trotsky, German professors, British diplomats, and American entrepreneurs—a multicultural panoply of performers and poets, do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. During the Second World War, thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe found passage through Istanbul, some with the help of the future Pope John XXIII. At the Pera Palace, Istanbul's most luxurious hotel, so many spies mingled in the lobby that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish their seats to paying guests.

In beguiling prose and rich character portraits, Charles King brings to life a remarkable era when a storied city stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393245783
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/08/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 34,749
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Charles King is a professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University. A frequent media commentator on global issues, he is the author of Gods of the Upper Air, Odessa, Midnight in the Pera Palace, and other books. He lives in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Maps xi

Author's Note xiii

Prologue 1

Grand Hotel 11

The Gray Fleet 29

Occupation 47

Resistance 67

Moscow on the Bosphorus 89

Konstantinoupolis 111

"The Post-War World Was Jazzing" 133

"The Past is a Wound in My Heart" 153

Modern Times 177

Beyond the Veil 199

Living Like a Squirrel 217

Island Life 233

Queen 253

Holy Wisdom 265

Shadow Wars 287

Paper Trails 315

At The Gate of Felicity 343

Acknowledgments 379

Chronology 383

Notes 387

Glossary 423

Bibliography 427

Index 451

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