BOOKS: SHE WAS A GYPSY WOMAN

A FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT SHATTERS MYTHS ABOUT A FEARED PEOPLE

GYPSIES HAVE TRADITIONALLY been the untouchables of Europe, lowest of the low. In medieval Romania, a Gypsy could be bought and sold as chattel, often for the price of a pig. In 18th century Prussia, Gypsies over 18 could be hanged without trial solely on the ground that their itinerant life-style was illegal. The Nazis targeted Gypsies for elimination as congenitally criminal, and more than 500,000 died in Hitler's death camps.

With that kind of sorrow-laden past, it is little wonder that these "quintessential strangers," as author Isabel Fonseca calls them, remain wary of all gadje (non-Gypsies.) An American of Hispanic...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!