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Customer Review

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Craftmanship, 30 Mar. 2013
I'm not a historian but a surgeon. However my passion through the last 40 years is history and as such I have extensive knowledge of history. After reading only a few pages it stood clear to me that the book has been written with a great deal of emotion. Positive emotion to Turkey. But also negative emotion towards Turkey's classical enemies. In short the positive deeds of turks are enhanced and the negative ones are systematically diminished. I am my self an admirer of Turkey and of Mustafa Kemal, but at the same time only what we know for facts interests me, not the positive or negative emotions of the one or the other author. Therefore the book is simply not trustworthy.

The examples from the author who is a professor of history in Ankara Turkey are numerous:
NS: The Janissaries were young men from the occupied parts of the Ottoman empire who were lifted up through a great education.
Normal consensus: The Janissaries, were small christian (maninly Greek, but also Serbian etc) boys of the age of 6 who were taken away from their mothers by force, and sent to Istanbul to become elite-soldiers. Their families never saw them again. The mere human grief in this fact is never mentioned.
NS: The massacre of Chios was a mistake done by the Turks who mistook the Island for another Island who had in fact deserved to be punished.
Consensus: The massacre of Chios comprised the entire Greek population which was killed, and thousand of women and children were sold as slaves (and never got their freedom back). The massacre was ordered as a reprisal to the uprising in mainland Greece (Morea).

The author also has a divided and inconsistent view on many things. E.g. the Persians (today Iranians). In some pages they are described almost as fools not understanding the Turkish culture, in other pages they are great, because of the fact that thay are muslims and culturally linked to the Turkish. The great history of the Persian culture is being unprofessionally belittled, that is unbecoming.
The author is clearly not fond of the Greeks and the history of the Greeks diminished, and the Greeks and Byzantines are mixed together so as to give an impression of the positive deeds of the Greeks being Byzantine and the negative deeds being Greek. History is, however, not so simple.
The killing of a very large number of Armenians (in the hundreds of thousands) in the beginning of the 20th century is diminished to a degree which is simply inexcusable to a historian, the same goes for the killing (consensus) of between 250000 and 370000 Greeks in Asia minor, which are nowadays normally viewed as historical facts, just as Hitler's killing of 10 million jews and 6 million others. When historians attempt to belittle Hitlers negative deeds they are called revisionists.

In short, the book is lacking craftsmanship. A history-book written by a historian should be scientific i.e. what do we know as scientific facts. The speculative discussions should be clearly marked as a discussion and not intermingled with historical facts, as is the case in this book. Also the book has no footnotes so checking the sources of the numerous postulates is impossible.
Finally the author is writing in a very humoristic tone, which I at least soon became very tired of. The author undoubtedly has a vast knowledge of Turkey. However, he is not faithful to science and his history-book is far too biased to be trustworthy, unfortunately. There are a number of history books on Turkey which are far better and far superior as to telling the historical facts. I cannot recommend the book.
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