Ataturk Paperback – 16 Feb 2004
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Surely definitive ... I enjoyed every page and recommend this book highly (Simon Sebag Montifiore, Mail on Sunday)
A fluent, thorough and enjoyable biography, which for comprehensiveness, balance and deftness of touch outclasses all the alternatives for the English reader (Mark Mazower, New Statesman)
The best concise account I have ever seen of the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The narrative is gripping. It does not merely present all the facts of Ataturk's career but paints a credible picture of the whole man (Geoffrey Lewis)
The profundity of Mango's analysis and his empathy with the years of national regeneration lift Ataturk to a higher level of biography than any previous account (Alan Palmer, Literary Review)
Takes its place at the top (Norman Stone, Sunday Times)
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the founding father of the Turkish Republic. He transformed it from a battle-scarred ruin into a regional power and is still hailed as a hero today.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In order to understand the current shortcomings of Turkey, one needs to read the history of Turkey in the first half of 20th century and this book is absolutely one of them. Mango, without hurting Turks' pride, clearly explains the political scene of Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic and Ataturk' role during that period. "Must read" material.
The superlatives piled on by the official reviews are a trifle overblown. I would recommend this book, but even more, the Kinross biography.
There's also a tangible lack of objectivity. True, this is no hagiography, indeed far from it. Apart from the many positives, the man with the burning desire to make Turkey and its people a peer amongst modern nations, we see many of the failings of Mustafa Kemal, who comes across sometimes a bit of a fantasist. His deeds at Gallipoli seem to have been somewhat exaggerated by himself. His "Sun language theory" which regarded Turkish as the original human language, and his claim that all the previous peoples of Asia Minor right into the distant past, Hittites, Phrygians etc. were Turkic, are like the ravings of a National Socialist madman. His six-day speech (Nutuk) to the Republican Party congress in 1927 would have made Stalin proud.
But, apart from Mustafa Kemal himself, the overall historical viewpoint seems a bit pro-Turkish, or at least totally unwilling to upset Turkish sensibilities, rather than objective. Even if there is no evidence anyway, Mango goes well out of his way to distance Mustafa Kemal as far as possible from any of the murders of political opponents - picturing him as the tragic Henry II to Thomas Becket. The Armenian genocide (sorry, "unfortunate loss of Armenian lives which were just some amongst many other incidental victims of the war too") gets not much more than a passing mention. There also appears the modern liberal-left tendency of blaming anyone but the actual perpetrator of a crime.Read more ›
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