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    The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life (Hardback) By (author) Tom Reiss

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    DescriptionPart history, part cultural biography, and part literary mystery, The Orientalist traces the life of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew who transformed himself into a Muslim prince and became a best-selling author in Nazi Germany.  Born in 1905 to a wealthy family in the oil-boom city of Baku, at the edge of the czarist empire, Lev escaped the Russian Revolution in a camel caravan.  He found refuge in Germany, where, writing under the names Essad Bey and Kurban Said, his remarkable books about Islam, desert adventures, and global revolution, became celebrated across fascist Europe.  His enduring masterpiece, Ali and Nino–a story of love across ethnic and religious boundaries, published on the eve of the Holocaust–is still in print today. But Lev’s life grew wilder than his wildest stories.  He married an international heiress who had no idea of his true identity–until she divorced him in a tabloid scandal.  His closest friend in New York, George Sylvester Viereck–also a friend of both Freud’s and Einstein’s–was arrested as the leading Nazi agent in the United States.  Lev was invited to be Mussolini’s official biographer–until the Fascists discovered his “true” identity.  Under house arrest in the Amalfi cliff town of Positano, Lev wrote his last book–discovered in a half a dozen notebooks never before read by anyone–helped by a mysterious half-German salon hostess, an Algerian weapons-smuggler, and the poet Ezra Pound.  Tom Reiss spent five years tracking down secret police records, love letters, diaries, and the deathbed notebooks.  Beginning with a yearlong investigation for The New Yorker, he pursued Lev’s story across ten countries and found himself caught up in encounters as dramatic and surreal, and sometimes as heartbreaking, as his subject’s life.  Reiss’s quest for the truth buffets him from one weird character to the next: from the last heir of the Ottoman throne to a rock opera-composing baroness in an Austrian castle, to an aging starlet in a Hollywood bungalow full of cats and turtles. As he tracks down the pieces of Lev Nussimbaum’s deliberately obscured life, Reiss discovers a series of shadowy worlds–of European pan-Islamists, nihilist assassins, anti-Nazi book smugglers, Baku oil barons, Jewish Orientalists–that have also been forgotten.  The result is a thoroughly unexpected picture of the twentieth century–of the origins of our ideas about race and religious self-definition, and of the roots of modern fanaticism and terrorism.  Written with grace and infused with wonder, The Orientalist is an astonishing book.  


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    Title
    The Orientalist
    Subtitle
    Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Tom Reiss
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 433
    Width: 163 mm
    Height: 234 mm
    Thickness: 41 mm
    Weight: 726 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9781400062652
    ISBN 10: 1400062659
    Classifications

    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: BIO
    BIC subject category V2: BGH
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.5
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BIC subject category V2: HBTZ1
    B&T General Subject: 170
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 03
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    BISAC V2.8: BIO007000
    DC21: 833.912
    BIC subject category V2: BGL
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 19
    B&T Approval Code: A23306400
    BISAC V2.8: HIS043000
    DC22: 833/.912
    BISAC V2.8: BIO006000
    LC subject heading: , , ,
    LC classification: PT2637.A433 Z87 2005
    Publisher
    Random House (NY)
    Imprint name
    Random House (NY)
    Publication date
    18 February 2005