Drawn from traditional sources, this history explores the life, history and culture of the gypsies, or Roma, from their arrival in the Eastern European region in the Middle Ages until the present. Their past reflects the diverse traditions of every part of Eastern Europe and particularly Russia, where they have exerted a profound influence on literary and musical elements. Balkan Roma were affected by the region's Ottoman past, while Central European gypsies were influenced by Habsburg traditions. Crowe also reviews the tragic and virulent prejudice and mistreatment of gypsies, epitomized by their losses during the Nazi holocaust. He concludes by examining the rebirth of prejudice and the plight of the Roma as they struggle to redefine their role in the new post-Communist world.