Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams by Charles King - review by Jan Morris

Jan Morris

In Potemkin’s Steps

Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams


W W Norton 336pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Think Odessa, and you probably think of Sergei Eisenstein’s classic 1925 film Battleship Potemkin. Very proper too. The Black Sea port was a hodgepodge from its very foundation at the end of the eighteenth century, and the film title by which it is best evoked nowadays is a little jumble of ironies too.

For one thing the warship itself, the focus of a historic naval mutiny at Odessa in 1905, was really called Kniaz Potemkin Tavritchesky. It was soon renamed Pantelimon, and ended up in 1922 as Boretz Za Svobodu. Then the iconic Potemkin Steps, scene of the film’s most celebrated

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