Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
Nowhere near as good as I expected
on 5 April 2008
I've just finished reading this book and must admit to being rather disappointed by it. The style in which it's written is rather dated and it makes reading it at times quite hard work. It's pretty obvious that Lord Kinross is a big fan of Ataturk, which wouldn't be too bad if he could have at least balanced out his admiration for the man with a more critical assessment of his darker side. As a result, some of the more unsavoury aspects of Ataturk's career are not analysed with the sort of rigour one would expect from a serious historian - from the inadequate, almost apologetic description of Ataturk's terror deployed against his perceived enemies, to the crass, verging on racist treatment of the revolt and suppression of the Kurds (who Kinross describes as a "dissident minority of combative temperament and extreme religious beliefs" -all 10 million of them?). Issues relating to the vanished Armenians are simply ignored, just as I am sure the Author's Turkish friends would have wanted. Also, the author never misses the opportunity to paint the picture of Ataturk as an Anglophile (which by all other accounts he was not especially), and he has an annoying habit of footnoting the titles of obscure British officials e.g. First Dragoman Ryan (later Sir Andrew Ryan, KBE, CMG), as if this was a matter of some relevance to the book. All in all, a book that provides an interesting sketch of Ataturk's life but not really suited to anyone trying to get a deeper insight into the life and career of this important, complex and often ruthless man.