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John Freely was born into a dissident, hard-drinking Irish-American family in 1927. He dropped out of school aged 17 and joined the US Navy, serving as a marine in the last years of the Second World War and as a G.I. student discovered as genius for Physics. His postgraduate studies took him to All Souls, Oxford before taking up a teaching post in 1960 at Roberts College (later Bosphorus University) in Istanbul. Aside from his career as a Professor of Physics he has written forty books about the intertwined history and culture of Turkey and Greece starting with the guidebook he wrote with Hilary Sumner-Boyd, Strolling Through Istanbul.
Written when Orhan Pamuk was just a pup and when John Freely was in his prime. Freely had explored every inch of the city for Strolling Through Istanbul but that was a book about the history behind the facades - this is a picture of the city that he loved. - Andrew Finkel