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Synopsis

Farewell Espana transcends conventional historical narrative. With the lucidity and verve that have characterized his numerous earlier volumes, Howard Sachar breathes life into the leading dramatis personae of the Sephardic world: the royal counselors Samuel ibn Nagrela and Joseph Nasi, the poets Solomon ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi, the philosophers Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza, the statesmen Benjamin Disraeli and Pierre Mendes-France, the warriors Moshe Pijade and David Elazar, the fabulous charlatans David Reuveni and Shabbatai Zvi.

In its breadth and richness of texture, Sachar's account sweeps to the contemporary era of Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco, poignantly traces the fate of Balkan Sephardic communities during the Holocaust -- and their revival in the Land and State of Israel. Not least of all, the author offers a tactile dimension of immediacy in his personal encounters with the storied venues and current personalities of the Sephardic world. Farewell Espana is a window opened on a glowing civilization once all but extinguished, and now flickering again into renewed creativity.

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