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Publishers WeeklyIn their vivid memoir, Stocke, a travel writer from New Jersey; and Brenner, a former travel bookstore owner from California, document their travels through Turkey, spanning nearly 10 years and stretching from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean coast, and from the Iranian border to Istanbul. Relayed through the alternating voices of the two authors are travel anecdotes that touch on Turkey's splendid and sordid past. They learn of Ottoman Sultan Beyazit II's welcoming of over 100,000 Sephardic Jews driven out of Spain in 1492, but also of the atrocities suffered by the Armenians in the early 20th century. Every destination on their itinerary is home to ghosts of Turkey's past, but the friends also take time to enjoy "whitewashed façades tinged sienna in the late afternoon sun" and "breezes rustling through the cobbled streets." Over-eager guides embody the country's tumultuous national identity-a mélange of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, Turks, and more-and descriptions of the past weaved into the present provide a rich portrait of the region. Stocke and Brenner make a show of grappling with the country's contradictions, but ultimately their story feels more the product of research than a reflection of their true affection for Anatolia.
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