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Claremont author explores history of Gypsies in new book

Claremont author David Cressy has published his 10th book, Gypsies: An English History, with Oxford University Press. Based on research in English archives, it shows how Gypsies were perceived and abused from their first arrival in the 16th century to the present.

Mr. Cressy shows how Gypsies belonged to a Romani migration, originally from India, that reached Western Europe at the time of the Renaissance. English governments tried to exclude them, and made it illegal to be a Gypsy, but they flourished as travelling entertainers, peddlers and fortune tellers.

Victorian enthusiasts tried to learn the Romani language, while local authorities tried to move them away. Today’s Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are a disadvantaged minority with a 500-year history of prejudice.

Mr. Cressy was born and educated in England and has lived in Claremont since 1970. He was one of the founders of Claremont Heritage. He has taught at Pitzer College, California State University Long Beach and Ohio State University, and is now research professor in arts and humanities at Claremont Graduate University.

His previous books include Literacy and the Social Order, Bonfires and Bells, Dangerous Talk, Saltpeter the Mother of Gunpowder and England on Edge.