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July 17 , 2007

Smoke In The Lanes

Happiness and Hardship on the Road with the Gypsies in the 1950s


In the 1950s the Romani people lived on the brink of great change. In their bright wooden wagons they journeyed between horse-fairs and traditional stopping places - stoic, humorous and wild, often poverty-stricken but protective of their freedom - on the fringes of a society that was soon to close around them. Dominic Reeve describes his life among the Gypsies: the feuds and fairs, the joyful muddy squalor of an outdoor existence. He evokes an unforgettable cast of fireside characters - bold children, fierce matriarchs and dandyish villains in snap-brimmed hats - and tells of sharp deals done and rings run round country policemen, of love affairs, dances and open-air feasting. Smoke in the Lanes is the vivid, memorable record of a disappeared world.

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