Constantinople: The Beautiful City and the Destruction of its Greek, Armenian, and Jewish Ethnic Communities is a story of triumph, human nature, and the ties that bind families through unimaginable struggles. Those who have ever experienced a migration such as the Fotiu family did will connect their own story, and those who live in a world so different and unlike this family will awaken to a deeper sense of what it means to belong to a diverse and global community. Constantinople brings to light atrocities that many have buried deep into their daily consciousness; it is an important work for this generation and for those to come. Historical truths are weaved together with the author's rich, autobiographical narration.
Review by Lazar "Larry" Odzak, PhD and Author:
Constantinople- the name alone evokes concepts of rich history and grandeur. The author brings the past to life. Chapter by chapter, he describes the historical background of the polis and the region, draws together the various threads, and brings it all together by weaving a tapestry that depicts the current times. Fotiu astutely analyzes not only the causes of the catastrophe, but also the national and international reactions to the progrom and the ensuing circumstances that compelled thousands of non-Turkish minorities to leave Istanbul. The author's own family first gets away to Belgium, then finds a permanent haven in the United States. The author is to be highly recommended for his evenhanded, factual examination of the events and his perceptive conclusions.
Review by George Horiates, Esquire:
There are few times in life when one gets the pleasure of reviewing a book and realizing from the beginning of the journey that you are reading a great work. That is the experience you will encounter when you delve into Fotiu's Constantinople. The real story is the testimonial given by the Fotiu family, starting with the author's father moving to the Poli from Albania in search of a better life. The storyteller weaves history with policy, referencing all points from the closing of the theological school at Halki to the Varlik (high taxation of foreigners). The description of growing up in the Poli in the 1950's brings the era to life. The streets are filled with entertainers, markets where even Turks sold icons, of playing with children of other ethnicitiesand even of openly celebrating Easter at Agia Evangelistra Church. That peace ended for the Fotiu family and for the community of Constantinople on September 6, 1955. Constantinople's understanding of the past and never forgetting the pain suffered by our forefathers is a necessary ingredient. The equally significant message of hope for the future, of peaceful and neighborly resolution, of respect for minorities is a lesson for all in our brotherhood.