“This erudite, absorbing volume chronicles the travels of ethnomusicologist Theodore Levin through urban and rural Transoxania . . . He writes in evocative, imaginative, personalized prose that vividly captures the flavor of his everyday experiences, providing plush visual detail, trenchant character profiles, attention to perplexing local hospitality codes and the shaping hand of gender, throughout.” —Slavic Review
“. . . extremely informative, using music as a platform for a much wider discussion of cultural and political issues.” —Times Literary Supplement, London
“The subject is music, but Levin uses it to cast a wider light, revealing places of considerable sorrow long hidden in the shadows of Soviet power, and to create a travelogue with wide potential appeal. . . . Candor about his own uncertainties and personal struggles helps make this a personal as well as a scholarly adventure.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Not to be missed by those interested in music and world culture . . . ” —Library Journal
“. . . may be destined to become the definitive work on the music of this newly accessed region.” —Dirty Linen
The Hundred Thousand Fools of God assembles a living musical and ethnographic map by highlighting the fate of traditions, beliefs, and social relationships in Muslim and Jewish Central Asian cultures during and after seventy years of Soviet rule. Theodore Levin evokes the spectacular physical and human geography of the area and weaves a rich ethnography of the life styles, values, and art of the musical performers. Photographs, maps, and an accompanying CD (featuring 24 on-site recordings) make The Hundred Thousand Fools of God a unique reading and listening experience.