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Part history, part cultural biography, and part literary mystery, The Orientalist traces the life of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew who transformed himself into a Muslim prince and became a best-selling author in Nazi Germany. Born in 1905 to a wealthy family in the oil-boom city of Baku, at the edge of the czarist empire, Lev escaped the Russian Revolution in a camel caravan. He found refuge in Germany, where, writing under the names Essad Bey and Kurban Said, his remarkable books about Islam, desert adventures, and global revolution, became celebrated across fascist Europe. His enduring masterpiece, Ali and Nino–a story of love across ethnic and religious boundaries, published on the eve of the Holocaust–is still in print today. But Lev’s life grew wilder than his wildest stories. He married an international heiress who had no idea of his true identity–until she divorced him in a tabloid scandal. His closest friend in New York, George Sylvester Viereck–also a friend of both Freud’s and Einstein’s–was arrested as the leading Nazi agent in the United States. Lev was invited to be Mussolini’s official biographer–until the Fascists discovered his “true” identity. Under house arrest in the Amalfi cliff town of Positano, Lev wrote his last book–discovered in a half a dozen notebooks never before read by anyone–helped by a mysterious half-German salon hostess, an Algerian weapons-smuggler, and the poet Ezra Pound. Tom Reiss spent five years tracking down secret police records, love letters, diaries, and the deathbed notebooks. Beginning with a yearlong investigation for The New Yorker, he pursued Lev’s story across ten countries and found himself caught up in encounters as dramatic and surreal, and sometimes as heartbreaking, as his subject’s life. Reiss’s quest for the truth buffets him from one weird character to the next: from the last heir of the Ottoman throne to a rock opera-composing baroness in an Austrian castle, to an aging starlet in a Hollywood bungalow full of cats and turtles. As he tracks down the pieces of Lev Nussimbaum’s deliberately obscured life, Reiss discovers a series of shadowy worlds–of European pan-Islamists, nihilist assassins, anti-Nazi book smugglers, Baku oil barons, Jewish Orientalists–that have also been forgotten. The result is a thoroughly unexpected picture of the twentieth century–of the origins of our ideas about race and religious self-definition, and of the roots of modern fanaticism and terrorism. Written with grace and infused with wonder, The Orientalist is an astonishing book.
The Orientalist unravels the mysterious life of a man born on the border between West and East, a Jewish man with a passion for the Arab world. Tom Reiss first came across the man who called himself 'Kurban Said' when he went to the ex-USSR to research the oil business on the Caspian Sea, and discovered a novel instead. Written on the eve of the Second World War, Ali and Nino is a captivating love story set in the glamorous city of Baku, Azerbaijan's capital. The novel's depiction of a lost cosmopolitan society is enthralling, but equally intriguing is the identity of the man who wrote it. Who was its supposed author? And why was he so forgotten that no one could agree on the simplest facts about him? For five years, Reiss tracked Lev Nussimbaum, alias Kurban Said, from a wealthy Jewish childhood in Baku, to a romantic adolescence in Persia on the run from the Bolsheviks, and an exile in Berlin as bestselling author and self-proclaimed Muslim prince. The result is a thoroughly unexpected picture of the twentieth-century - of the origins of our ideas about race and religious self-definition, and of the roots of modern fanaticism.
WINNER OF THE 2013 PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY General Alex Dumas is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiar—because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his larger-than-life feats as inspiration for such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. But, hidden behind General Dumas's swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: he was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas made his way to Paris, where he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat. The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. TIME magazine called The Black Count "one of those quintessentially human stories of strength and courage that sheds light on the historical moment that made it possible." But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.
This is an inside account of a neo-Nazi paramilitary group. It is told by Ingo Hasselbach, who grew up in East Germany, and rebelled against the Communist regime. He then went on to become involved with the fascist movement, which he has now left.
As a new independent Republic of Armenia is established among the ruins of the Soviet Union, Armenians are rethinking their history—the processes by which they arrived at statehood in a small part of their historic homeland, and the definitions they might give to boundaries of their nation. Both a victim and a beneficiary of rival empires, Armenia experienced a complex evolution as a divided or an erased polity with a widespread diaspora. Ronald Grigor Suny traces the cultural and social transformations and interventions that created a new sense of Armenian nationality in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Perceptions of antiquity and uniqueness combined in the popular imagination with the experiences of dispersion, genocide, and regeneration to forge an Armenian nation in Transcaucasia. Suny shows that while the limits of Armenia at times excluded the diaspora, now, at a time of state renewal, the boundaries have been expanded to include Armenians who live beyond the borders of the republic.
From the mysterious author of the international bestseller, Ali and Nino, soon to be the subject of a major biography, comes a novel of thwarted love, exile, and desire, never before published in the UK. The story of Kurban Said and the international bestseller Ali and Nino is one of the most beguiling literary mysteries of recent years. Equally beguiling is the existence of another novel - an insinuating and strikingly beautiful story set against the backdrop of Weimar Berlin. Kurban Said once again takes up the subject of a cross-cultural love story between Muslims and Christians in a spellbinding story that stretches from Istanbul to Weimar Berlin to Jazz Age New York City. The Girl From the Golden Horn is an elegant story of suspense that enthralls from the first page to the last.
"Memories of Baku" is the visual retelling of the rich history of the capital of Azerbaijan and the country's rise to power as one of the largest oil producing nations in the world. This publication showcases the unique socio-economic cultural and political situation of Baku in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, presented alongside aspects of Baku culture in the forms of architecture, music, theater and the visual arts. Embellished with photographs, advertisements and postcard views of the once-opulent city, "Memories of Baku" reaches beyond the classical stereotypes of Azerbaijan as "the land of fire," focusing instead on what are considered the more formative elements of Baku's community. The postcard illustrations included in this collection are derived from the personal collection of editor Nicolas V. Iljine, who has developed a passion for discovering and sharing these impressions of an antiquated city with the public.

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