In Odessa, the greatest port on the Black Sea, a dream of cosmopolitan freedom inspired geniuses and invators, from the writers Alexander Pushkin and Isaac Babel to Zionist activist Vladimir Jabotinsky and immulogist Ilya Mechnikov. Yet here too was death on a staggering scale, as World War II brought the mass murder of Jews carried out by the city's Romanian occupiers. Odessa is an elegy for the vibrant, multicultural tapestry of which a thriving Jewish population formed an essential part, as well as a celebration of the survival of Odessa's dream in a diaspora reaching all the way to Brighton Beach.
Charles King is a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. A frequent media commentator on global issues, he is the author of Odessa, Midnight in the Pera Palace, and other books. He lives in Washington, DC.
Winner of National Jewish Book Award for Writing Based on Archival Material 2011.