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on 8 February 2005
As one of the reviewers put it, this is a dense, scholarly work on the subject. The author does try to provide an objective look at the nation and the country, and these efforts must be applauded and welcomed. The question of to what degree she has succeeded is another one. On one hand not being Armenian (or Turkish) should help with objectivity, on the other hand not actually being fluent in Armenian doesn't really help. The focus of the book is also very much pre-1071, and there is very little material on more recent Armenian history. The truth of Genocide also gets very little attention if at all, this perhaps being the most surprising part, since modern Armenian history cannot be considered without the effects of the Armenian Genocide. Nevertheless this is one of the very few modern works on Armenian history available today in English.
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on 24 September 2001
This is is a very detailed account which makes for dense reading. The dynastic information is obviously important, but sometimes makes for a dry account, in the manner of the more old fashioned accounts of English medieval history. A wider focus and comparisons within the broader European or even Byzantine arenas might also have made for a more obviously "relevant" account. Of course part of the interest is that Armenia was only marginally European, always risking incorporation in the polities of others. All that said, this is a much needed book, on a fascinating and exciting area, set a little above the demands of the general reader, but infinitely rewarding.
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on 11 January 2012
A very interesting book about a little understood area of Europe. Very detailed and more, bigger scale maps would be useful
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on 18 May 2002
For anyone wanting to understand the backgroud to the formation of the Armenian nation(s), this book is essential reading. To achieve this, great detail is applied.
On the down side, the emphasis may be too much on the political aspects. Example: the author shows that Armenia's conversion to Christianity was initially a political move by Tiridates IV inspired by Rome's upcoming(?) conversion, rather than a religious one. Redgate even states Armenia's claim of being the first Christian state is due to a (politically inspired) chronological mix-up by the writers of the chronicles the legend is based on, and that conversion actually happened after Rome's. After all, these chronicles were written ages after events took place. Unfortunately, the author offers close to no detail on the actual conversion of the population, which happened throughout the following centuries.
'The Armenians' does offer a clear view on state formation, and how religion can be a political means in the creation of a 'nation', although the book lacks some of the social dimension.
It remains an essential read for those interested in Armenia and more generally in state formation.
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