Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Fall of the Ottomans - Review

An absorbing history of the impact of the first world war on the Middle East Eugene Rogan’s study of the great war from the Ottoman perspective reveals the root cause of many of today’s conflicts

By Anthony Sattin

The Guardian -  Sunday 1 March 2015 

The last thing the people of the Ottoman empire needed in autumn 1914 was another war. In the six years leading up to that calamitous year they had seen a sultan deposed and their immense and immensely inefficient army battered. In several bruising wars, they had ceded Libya to Italy and all their European territories – including what is now Bulgaria, large chunks of Greece, Bosnia, Serbia and Albania – to independence. Now their Young Turk leaders were siding with Germany, because the Kaiser looked most likely to help them regain some of that lost territory, or at least avoid the dismantlement of the empire. The consequences of that decision – the great war that shaped the Middle East, the conflict that made the war global – form the grand tale that Eugene Rogan tells in his latest book.
Readers of his previous work, The Arabs, will know how comfortably he handles multiple themes, ambitious narratives and a crowd of characters. Writing about the collapse of an empire that, in 1914, still included all of what is now Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt demands those skills, and more. Finding something new to say about a conflict that one of its most famous participants described as “a sideshow of a sideshow” would seem to be a challenge, especially with other books recently published on the subject. Some of these have looked at individual theatres, most obviously the Arab revolt, while others (such as Kristian Coates Ulrichsen’s The First World War in the Middle East) cover the entire war.


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