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We Are the Romani People: Volume 28 [Paperback]

Ian Hancock
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2002 1902806190 978-1902806198
Written by a Romani (gypsy), this introduction to Roma life, health, food, culture, and society provides an insightful look at this despised by mysterious minority originating in India. Extensively illustrated, it looks at the people, their history since leaving India 1,000 years ago, and their rejection and exclusion from society in the countries where they settled. It offers candid advice on rejecting prejudices and stereotypes and getting to know the Roma as individuals, with short biographies of Roma in many different walks of life.

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About the Author

Ian Hancock received his Ph.D. from London University and teaches Romani studies at the University of Texas, Austin, where he is the director of the Romani Archives and Documentation Center. He was born in Britain but descends on his father's side from the Benczi Imre family, which left Hungary in the second half of the 19th century. In 1998 President Clinton appointed him to represent Romanies on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. he is the author of over 300 books and articles, mostly on the Roma.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Bruce G
When you read this book, you'll clearly get the sense that the author is representing Romani people, their views and concerns. This book explains in detail Romani history and Romani stereotypes. It spends a lot of effort explaining what Romani people aren't but not enough on what they are. If you're looking for an interesting insight into the people labelled as "Gypsies", what you'll find here is a lecture against erroneous information instead.
That being said, the book still does have a lot of interesting information. It's very solid in discussing Romani history. And I found the list of prominent individuals of Romani ancestory to be interesting: Charlie Chaplin, US President Bill Clinton, Rita Hayworth, Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Freddie Prinze and Freddie Prinze Jr.
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By A Customer
Anyway, I would like to tell you something else. I just received my papers. I hope you remember my and your comments about Hancock's "Romaivi." I will use Latin letters here for the sake of legibility. To refresh your memory, according to Hancock, the Byzantines called themselves "Romaivi" - which is absurd. The ancient Greek "Romaioi" (pronounced [ro'ma'yo'i], today [ro'me'i]) is the plural of Romaios ([ro'ma'yos], today [ro'me'os]) which means "a male Roman person" and comes from the Greek (or Hellenic, if you prefer) word for Rome - "Roma." The Byzantines called themselves Romans - that is, "Romaioi" and not "Romaivi." To distinguish between Romans and Byzantines, in Modern Greek the word "latinikos" (Latin) is broadly used to define "Roman" as an adjective. I am all too well aware of everything you commented about the origin of the word "Rumelia" and do not need to consult Dr. Erdinc or anyone about the matter. It indeed comes from those "Romaios" and "Roma" - not from "Romaivi" or any such nonsense of a word. The invented word "Romaivi" cited by Hancock, like the many other mistakes he makes in an attempt to show knowledge in everything, ruins his otherwise very informative and interesting book, thus (maybe undeservedly) casting a shadow of doubt on the other more "central" points that he makes. Therefore, I would suggest to you in good faith not to use this edition of his book or use it only with extreme caution. That is the point I wanted to make.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have April 4 2003
This is a must-read book for anyone who is interested in not only the Romani people but also in the roles they have played in history. So much of their story is not known or not understood and this book deals with it in such an honest and straight forward way. It discusses and tackles the issues faced by the Romani people but does it in a way that doesn't point fingers or make excuses. Of the few books that actually deal with this topic, most of them are slanted to one side or the other. Hancock's book gives out the informattion for anyone who wants to read it. His personal insight is so helpful, as most of the other authors writing on this topic are non-Romani. This is such an important book, especially for someone interested in specific genres of history like the Holocaust or Middle Ages that it should definitely be on recommended reading lists. Of course you don't need to be a historian just to find this book insightful and interesting. I think everyone should read this book.
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