Turkey: A Short History Hardcover – 14 Mar 2011
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'Impressive, and suggests a contemporary Herodotus at work ... Stone does justice to the enormous complexity of Turkish history'
'Arresting ... authoritative and measured ... Stone's Turkey breaks the popular mould and introduces its readers to a place beyond their presumptions' --The Sunday Times
'Brilliant and readable ... pithy, straightforward, superbly argued and very funny ... This is a book you could easily read on a plane ride to Istanbul, and you should, too'
`Norman Stone is one of the great historians of our time ... a refreshing and sometimes surprising view of Turkish history' --Military Illustrated
'Stone's irreverent narrative is a spur to read more about a forgotten power that is central to Europe's history' --The Financial Times
'Lively, forceful and fast-moving'
--The Catholic Herald
'An enjoyable gallop through the history of Turks' --The Literary Review
'However many histories of Turkey you have read, you will never have read one as incisive, combative and sure-footed as this one, which is also delightfully brisk and extremely funny' --Cornucopia
'An authoritative but clear guide to an extremely complex subject in a lavishly illustrated, easy-to-follow format'
--Good Book Guide
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It's pretty easy to see why Stone's style would offend some modern historians. This is a relatively short book, and it covers a lot of ground. Stone gets his points across elegantly: like Gibbon, he knows how to get complex ideas across with arresting metaphors and similes. Not for him are the tedious 'objective' analyses that so many professional historians use to advance their own prejudices.
Altogether, a fascinating book. Stone is very good on the problems that the Ottomans had in coming to terms with the advances of European civilisation. As the Turkish intelligensia came to terms with the enlightenment, they realised that Turkey could never keep up unless it abandoned the Caliphate and became a secular nation.
He makes it clear that the tensions that now exist in Turkey rest upon the paradox that EU membership depends upon the development of genuinely democratic political institutions--which would in turn almost guarantee an Islamic state that would rapidly repudiate everything that Europe stands for. Yet for all this, the Turkish economy is thriving--and the way things are now, they can count their rejection by the EU elite as an unmitigated blessing.
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