A World of Sephardic Jews, Greek Orthodox, and Turkish Muslims in the early 1900s
"A jewel of memory."—Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Book-of-the-Month Club
At the crossroads of East and West, Salonica (now Thessaloniki) was an oasis in a swirl of conflicting powers and interests, a vibrant world of varied peoples, where Leon Sciaky grew up at the turn of the twentieth century. This Paul Dry Books rediscovered classic includes many photos courtesy of Leon Sciaky's son Peter, who has also written a short biographical sketch of his father's life in America.
"Farewell to Salonica is a fresh and charming book that throws a kindly light on a sector of human life unknown to most Americans."—New York Times
"A gallery of beautiful and quaint sketches, revealing fascinating aspects of civilization in a strange city where East met West and the ancient past met the future…It creates an atmosphere of expectation and wonder and enjoyment. Most of all, an atmosphere of living."—Christian Science Monitor
"An altogether charming book, so simply and truthfully written…The Salonica one reads about is not only a fascinating and complex city in which many national and cultural strains run side by side, but it is a critical city of Aegean politics…The breakdown of the Turkish Empire and its consequences for Balkan affairs are better understood when one has read this book. But it is not the political value of the book that should be emphasized so much as its quiet charm, its unpretentious and easy portrayal of a cultural pattern through an account of an engaging family…A warm and softly luminous book."—The Nation
"This is a story of one man's intensely happy boyhood, set against the politically seething years at the turn of the century in the ever-coveted prize city of the Balkans, Salonica…written in a charming and effortless manner."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"For the gift of a happy youth, Mr. Sciaky has repaid his city handsomely…it recalls Rebecca West'sBlack Lamb and Grey Falcon…It is an intensely personal story, yet so completely was [the young Sciaky] of his time and place that it is also the story of Salonica in the final phase of its existence; for the city that Sciaky knew, largely dominated by its 70,000 Spanish Jews, has gone…The author has made Salonica a living town, peopled by men and women of flesh and blood, people with all the human faults and weaknesses, but also with the lovable qualities that may be found in humanity everywhere by the man with skill to pick them out."—New York Herald Tribune
"A charming portrait of an era."—Honolulu Advertiser
"This picture of a Jewish childhood among rich merchants in Salonica has a glow, the radiant sunshine of a protected childhood."—Chicago Sun
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Leon Sciaky was born in 1894, when the Turkish flag still waved over Salonica. His family left their beloved but turbulent homeland in 1915, settling in New York City. Sciaky lived in America—mainly upstate New York—with his wife, Frances, and son until his death in 1958. He taught at a number of progressive schools and camps and, in his last years, owned and operated a school and camp with Frances.