Note: when referring to an ethnic group, it's impossible to find a word that will please everybody. I have chosen to use the word "Rroma" to refer to the people that have been historically known as the Gypsies. Among many people the word "Gypsy" has taken on very, very negative connotations as a vicious racial slur. I acknowledge that not all Gypsies are Rroma - some are Sinti, Dom, or Lom. I also acknowledge that some prefer to use the word "Gypsy" instead of Rroma. But I needed to use something, so I opted for the word with less inflammatory connotations. If you want to read more about why many Gypsies prefer to be called Rom, see the article Please Call Me Rom on Kajira Djoumahna's web site.
This book is partly travelogue, partly glimpses into the history of the Silk Road, and partly anthropological research. The author, Roger Moreau, took time away from his job to spend several months researching the history of the Rroma. In it, he explores the following questions and proposes his answers, based on his research:
The best way to describe this book is speculative history. The above questions are not answered in any known historical documents that have survived to this day, and therefore no one can authoritatively state "This is the factual story." So Moreau carefully studies the historical documents that do survive in each of the regions he visits, and then he pieces together how those events probably would have affected the people of the kalo rat (dark blood). His speculations are very credible. Although he can't support them with historical documents stating, "The Rroma did this because...." his conclusions are an interesting interpretation of the facts that he was able to substantiate about events affecting the regions as a whole.
After describing his conclusions about the early history of the Rroma, Moreau then leads into Book Two, which describes what happened to the Gypsies after they left Constantinople and spread across Europe. This part of the book is very painful to read, because it tells a story of many centuries of persecution, slavery, persecution during the Spanish Inquisition, and near extinction in the gas chambers of Hitler. But Moreau's story of the Rroma would have been incomplete without covering those horrors, and it casts light on why people say that the Rroma lived with many hardships over their history.
The thread that binds much of the book together is Moreau's description of his three Indian traveling companions - one from each of the Indian tribes that Moreau believes comprised the ancestors of the Gypsy/Romany people. It is somewhat entertaining to read about the exploits of this group as they make their way across India, into Afghanistan, and eventually to Turkey. The tales of these companions definitely add a human element to the book. But at the same time, they're a distraction, and they don't cast much light on the past.
Is It Right for You?
You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...
This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...
What I Liked, What I Didn't
What I Liked:
What I Didn't Like:
This book is most performs best as a travelogue, and also as a starting point for knowing something of the well-documented history of the Rroma after their arrival in Europe.
For more ancient history, the part where the Rroma traveled along the Silk Road from India to Turkey, the information in this book is mostly speculation by the author. Speculation has its place in historical research, and this author's theories are interesting, but the author's methodology for investigating whether his theories might be true probably wouldn't stand up to academic scrutiny.
There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.
This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.
All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.
Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on Shira.net using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.
If you wish to translate articles from Shira.net into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on Shira.net along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.
If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.
Explore more belly dance info:Top >
Belly Dancing >
Product Reviews >
Index to Book Reviews
Share this page!
|Top > Belly Dancing > Product Reviews > Index to Book Reviews|