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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very eye-opening book, even if you don't share the author's opinions, 25 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire: Historical Endings (History Endings) (Paperback)
This book explains the ethnic situation in the pre-WW1 Turkish Empire and the processes that led to it's continuous decline and dissolution after the war.

I am merely your common prejudiced White European. Whenever reading about the wars between European peoples and the Muslim invaders from Asia and Africa, I always sympathised with my own kind. Even though all the Turks I have ever met have been really nice people, I generally considered Turkey a nation of cruel barbarians and was horrified by some people's seriously considering the possibility of allowing them join the EU.

After reading this book, I see many things differently.

The most important thing that this book makes very clear, is that the information European peoples have been given, has always been one-sided. Mr. McCarthy explains in great detail how the European press has always given much coverage to atrocities committed by Muslim peoples against Christian peoples, and totally suppressed the other side of the coin. From this book, you'll learn how the emerging Balkan nation-states employed methods againts the Muslims which were in no way more humane than the methods used by the Ottomans.

I will bring you just one example from the many presented in this book. Years ago, I was understandably outraged when I first learned about the Turkish genocide on Armenians during WW1. However, before Mr. McCarthy, nobody had told me that it was blatantly provoked by the Armenian freedom fighters. The Armenian leaders realised that they were too small a minority in the territories they claimed, so that they could never beat the Turks on their own. That's why they decided to commit a massacre on Turks, provoking a counter-massacre on Armenians, which they could use to produce outrage in Christian Europe, which would then assist Armenia militarily. They almost succeeded.

I admit that I have some serious ideological differences with Mr. McCarthy. In particular, I can't concur with his lamenting about evil European imperialist countries dismembering that little cute empire in which all the different peoples were living together so harmoniously. But thanks to Mr. McCarthy, I now have a much more balanced wiew of that part of the European history. Besides, this book is really fascinating to read, and contains some very interesting data on the various ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire and their relations. That's why I consider it one of the best history books I've ever read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad if a little sparse., 3 Jun. 2009
By 
Gogol (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire: Historical Endings (History Endings) (Paperback)
This book details the end of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the modern nation states of the current Middle East. Like other Mccarthy books however, its a little sparse in detailed analysis of specific areas. In another words, he covers far too wide a geographical area and thus we have only brief chapters dealing with such issues as the Balkan revolts or the wars in Eastern Anatolia.

Much has been said of Mccarthy being pro Turkish and it must be said that to a large extent he does tow the party line in this book. You will find little of controversy in the pages of this book when dealing with sensitive issues regarding not just some of the more controversial issues regarding Armenia and Greece but also in the structure of the Turkish republic, the issues of Turkish nationalism and how it effected not only Kurds but other Muslim minorities within the new Turkish republic such as the Bosnians and various Caucasian peoples. Another issue is the Arab revolt. Mccarthy is far too simplistic on the issue regarding it as nothing more than a 'Bedouin revolt' (To some extent it was) But to claim that there was no intellectual call for Arab separation or independence or even to claim that the Middle East was under some homogeneous benevolent Ottoman ruler is equally false. What then of the revolts of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Druze and numerous others? Is he not aware that the "Arab revolt" was under the leadership of the Sharif of Mecca (who was a high standing member of the Ottoman parliament by the way)? It almost seems that Mccarthy has fallen under the common Turkish misconception that that Arab revolt was carried out by "Wahhabi's" (They did but it was largely insignificant and received not near the support from the Allies that the Sharif did) A further issue I have with this book is there is not a reliable index of sources that Mccarthy has used rather a list of further reading and some brief notes.

A little disappointing but for anyone wishing to read the history of the end of the Ottoman empire from a more sympathetic point of view may want to have a look at this.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Untraditional history, 16 July 2007
By 
Paul D. Markham (Perth, Western Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire: Historical Endings (History Endings) (Paperback)
The history of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire is almost always portrayed from the western perspective, focusing on the 'noble' struggle for freedom of oppressed minorities, and justified as the inevitable demise of a decadent, corrupt empire. Justin McCarthy takes a fresh look at the last century of the Empire from the Ottoman perspective. Using Ottoman documents, economic data and census figures (and noting their relative deficiencies) he builds a picture of an Empire struggling to achieve modernity in the face of fierce international pressure, financial assault and internal centripetal forces.
For a long time western historians have painted Ottoman attempts at modernisation and reform as half hearted and ineffectual and focused on percieved innate weaknesses in Ottoman society (traditionalism, conservatism, Islam, lack of ethnic identity - Ottoman denoting a cultural not ethnic affilitation). McCarthy's work reveals that most Ottoman reforms and modernisations improved all elements of Ottoman society, including education, transport, improved, the economy, the military and public health. Had these reforms been allowed to run their course the Empire would have had a good chance of recovery. However, the Great Powers - invariably Christian - were fundamentally hostile to the concept of a Muslim superpower and used direct invasion (Russia and Austria) and proxy separatism (Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Serbia) to destablise and dismember the empire (usually after the Ottomans had completed some significant piece of infrastructural improvement, such as building railroads).
The statistics provided at the end of the book provide sobering reading. The Ottoman Empire suffered millions of civilian deaths and was forced to feed and house hundreds of thousands of displaced citizens, invariably Muslims ethnically cleansed from the Balkans, the Crimea & Caucasus and the Arab states. Turkey was the recipient of no one's humanitarian aide at the end of the First World War. Even Germany recieved better treatment from the Treaty of Versailles. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenian civilians in a fiercely debated 'genocide' is widely acknowledged and rightly mourned. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Turkish civilians through the ethnic cleansing rates not a mention. McCarthy's attempt to document these events is brave and worthy of admiration. It is important to note, especially in these times, that all wars are terrible and wreak their effects on innocent civilians most of all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Applause, 23 May 2013
This review is from: The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire: Historical Endings (History Endings) (Paperback)
The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire: Historical Endings (History Endings)As the others have commented, the author here - very bravely, in my view, as he goes against the overwhelming view of 'Europeans' on this subject - takes a look at the issues in a more rounded way, taking into consideration the Ottoman reality, past and present. There are many facts in this book that not only was I not aware of but would not have discovered elsewhere without extreme difficulty. What is often written of as triumph and victory by the West is found mostly to be ghastly and tragic.
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