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The City of 72 Names covers almost one hundred years of world conflict, technological developments, art and cultural fluorescence and sadly, continuing anti-Semitism. We see a lot of this through the eyes of Moishe, Pinchas, Dovid and Leah Levy but without context, it is difficult to understand how strongly Jews impacted the strong desire of people all over the world to live their lives freely. Judaism teaches a concept called tikkun olam or "repairing the world." Our protagonists were not religious Jews. They were children and young adults when thrust into the world outside of their home and had only the rudiments of Jewish education but they instinctively knew from their parents the need to survive and more than that try to make the world a better place. Even Davey Boy, the American mobster, ends up doing good in his own way.

So, what was happening in the world during the lives of the Levy siblings? Turmoil, conflict, ethnic cleansing, nationalism, war, brilliant intellectual developments, unbelievable advancements in living standards, abject poverty, famine, disease, the passing of old regimes and the rising of new ones; and change, constant change.

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Moshe "Morris" Levy

Bodyguard and General to Chinese Nationalist Army

Two-Gun Levy was a real person named Morris Cohen and given the nickname "2-Gun" because he always carried two guns. He protected both Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek from 1911 until his death in the 1950s.

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Pinchas Levy

Poet and Warrior

Pinchas Levy participated in a love battle that became the talk of Ottoman Palestine. He fought with the Jewish Legion in WWI and then settled down at one of the first Kibbutzim.

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Dovid "Davey Boy" Levy

Head of the Freedman Gang and Mobster

David Levy joined one of the lower East side New York City gangs and eventually became head of one of the most notorious mobs in the US.

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Leah Levy

Bolshevik revolutionary

Leah Levy was a member of the wealthy and influential Polyakov family who became disillusioned and radicalized. She joined the Bolsheviks and through much suffering remained a member of the Communist party until her death in the late 1950s.