45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Some misleading reviews here: this is an excellent book,
This review is from: The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, 1898-1918 (Paperback)
I read some of the reviews of Dr McMeekin's book here on Amazon with a rising sense of frustration and disbelief. First, I cannot believe that some readers could be so obtuse that they would buy the book expecting it to be a trainspotters' guide - which some reviewers clearly did. Didn't they read the description of the book before placing an order? No, it isn't a technical guide to the Berlin to Baghdad Railway, and not for one second does it purport to be, so ignore the bleatings of purchasers who thought that this is a volume to accompany their books on the Flying Scotsman.
Similarly, there is one extended review which takes McMeekin to task because his purpose as an author, i.e. to give a fresh insight into the relationship between Imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire before and during the Great War, leaves unexamined a shopping list of issues and personalities that the reviewer wants, or was expecting, to be examined. Unfairly, in my view. I am not a professional historian, but as an educated dilettante I found the book not only opened for me a new perspective on an aspect of the Great War that has received less attention from Anglophone writers than it warrants, but it does so in a way that makes the story at once readable and comprehensible. British writers on this theatre tend to become fixated on the agonizingly sexually-repressed T.E. Lawrence. McMeekin gave me a fascinating and informative account of how the Ottoman Empire came to side with Germany/Austria-Hungary: surprised though many people in the British Admiralty and War Office may have been at the Sublime Porte throwing in its lot with the Central Powers, McMeekin gives an intriguing account of the waverings and vacillations that occurred in advance of what ultimately was Enver Pasha's huge gamble. More how to fend off the Russians than to share the Central Powers' ambitions in Europe to the west. Having read Peter Hopkirk and David Fromkin, I was not unfamiliar with the scope of this book, which I think makes a significant contribution to the study of a critically important period of history, the ramifications of which we are living and reliving every day.
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Initial post: 27 May 2012 20:19:13 BDT
F Henwood says:
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