The Crossing Place: Journey Among the Armenians

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9780006376675: The Crossing Place: Journey Among the Armenians

After centuries of prominence as a world power, Armenia has withstood every attempt during the 20th century to destroy it. With a name redolent both of dim antiquity and of a modern world and its tensions, the Armenians founded a civilization and underwent a diaspora that brought many of the great ideas of the East to Western Europe. Today, shrunk to a tenth of its former size and wracked by war with Azerbaijan and by earthquakes, its people still retain one of the world's most fascinating and misunderstood cultures. This book is a passionate and dramatic portrait of this country - the people and their massive exodus, as well as of the unique society that remains tentatively attached to the CIS. Travelling from Venice to Istanbul, passing through Eastern Europe, Beirut and Syria, and crossing the Black Sea to the Caucasus and into Armenia, the author takes us on a journey through time and history as we come to know this closed society.

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Review:

‘A stylish and beautifully written elegy to a lost civilisation….The Crossing Place is about loss and exile, and its pages are full of displaced communities and tenaciously maintained traditions, strange discoveries and odd conversations, all illuminated with brilliant flashes of esoteric learning’ William Dalrymple, Spectator

‘Marsden's fine and unostentatious travel writing is criss-crossed with traces of politics and cultural history… This is a beautifully written book, with enough incident and observation to convey the unpredictabilities of real travel’ Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph

‘A terrific travel book’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

‘A wonderful journey recounted with knowledge, humour and a beautiful, elegiac sadness’ Observer

‘An extraordinary travel narrative … As a history of the Armenian spirit in the twentieth century, this is possibly the most important book in decades’ TLS

‘He has gone into a world that remains closed to most outsiders and brought back wonderful pictures’ Independent

‘The way Marsden uncovers the traditions and secrets of these people from right under Europe’s nose is enthralling’ Sunday Times

From the Back Cover:

'The Crossing Place' is the account of a remarkable journey through the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, a quest to discover the secret of one of the world’s most extraordinary peoples. Caught between opposing empires, between warring religions and ideologies – at the crossing place of history – the Armenians have somehow survived against the odds.

“An interest, then an obsession, then a quest – and eventually a book, 'The Crossing Place', in which Marsden’s fine and unostentatious travel writing is criss-crossed with traces of politics and cultural history … This is a beautifully written book, with enough incident and observation to convey the unpredictabilities of real travel.”
NOEL MALCOLM, 'Daily Telegraph'

“One of the best young travel writers in search of the elusive, enigmatic Armenians … A wonderful journey recounted with knowledge, humour and a beautiful elegiac sadness.”
NICHOLAS WOLLASTON, 'Observer'

“Perfectly placed in mood and sympathy … A determined and passionate book.”
GUARDIAN

“A chance discovery of a human bone in Anatolia led Philip Marsden on a fascinating journey through the turbulent Middle East to find the first modern victims of genocide, the Armenians. This is a lone and absorbing quest for what stubbornly survives a holocaust – a people, a landscape, a language, a religious vision. It is an admirable book.”
D.M.THOMAS

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Philip Marsden
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