<< Return to main Events archive index

Book Launch: Midnight at the Pera Palace

October 28, 2014 at 5:30pm EST
Mortara Building, 3600 NW N St., Washington, DC
Speaker: Prof. Charles King, Georgetown University

Co-Sponsored by: Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and the Mortara Center for International Studies.

Download Poster
"Intrigue, violence, sex, and espionage, all set against the slow dimming of Ottoman magnificence. I loved this book."

- Simon Winchester

When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, so many spies mingled in the lobby of İstanbul's Pera Palace Hotel that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish seats to paying guests. As the multi-ethnic empire became a Turkish republic, Russian émigrés sold family heirlooms, an African American impresario founded a jazz club, Miss Turkey became the first Muslim beauty queen, and a Boston professor unveiled the lost treasures of the Hagia Sophia. Turkey's president Kemal Atatürk, Muslim feminist Halide Edip, the exiled Leon Trotsky, and the future Pope John XXIII fought for new visions of human freedom. During World War II, German intellectuals ran from the Nazis while Jewish activists spirited refugees out of occupied Europe. In this pioneering portrait of urban reinvention, Charles King re-creates an era when an ancient city became a global crossroads — a forgotten moment when Europe's closest Muslim metropolis became its vital port of refuge.

Charles King is Professor of International Affairs and Government at Georgetown University, where he previously served as chairman of the faculty of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, the country's premier school of global affairs. King's research has focused on nationalism, ethnic politics, transitions from authoritarianism, urban history, and the relationship between history and the social sciences. He is the author or editor of seven books, including Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams (W.W. Norton, 2011), which received the National Jewish Book Award, and The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus (Oxford University Press, 2008), which was named "History Book of the Year" by the Moscow Times. His new book on the emergence of modern İstanbul will be published by W.W. Norton in 2014. His work has been translated into more than ten languages.

Light refreshements will be served.

RSVP is requested: RSVP

Return to top