ISBN: 9780199350698 Publisher: Oxford University PressYear of publishing: 2015 Format: Hardback
No of Pages: 312 Language: English
The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was a brutal mass crime that prefigured other genocides in the 20th century. By various estimates, more than a million Armenians were killed...Read more
The destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 was a brutal mass crime that prefigured other genocides in the 20th century. By various estimates, more than a million Armenians were killed and the survivors were scattered across the world. Although it is now a century old, the issue of what most of the world calls the Armenian Genocide of 1915 has not been consigned to history. It is a live and divisive political issue that mobilizes Armenians across the world, touches the identity and politics of modern Turkey, and has consumed the attention of U.S. politicians for years. In Great Catastrophe, the eminent scholar and reporter Thomas de Waal looks at the changing narratives and politics of the Armenian Genocide and tells the story of recent efforts by courageous Armenians, Kurds, and Turks to come to terms with the disaster as Turkey enters a new post-Kemalist era. The story of what happened to the Armenians in 1915-16 is well-known. Here we are told the much less well-known story of what happened to Armenians, Kurds, and Turks in its aftermath.
First Armenians were divided between the Soviet Union and a worldwide diaspora, with different generations and communities of Armenians constructing new identities, while bitter intra-Armenian quarrels sometimes broke out into violence. In Turkey, the Armenian issue was initially forgotten and suppressed, only to return to the political agenda in the context of the Cold War, an outbreak of Armenian terrorism in the 1970s and the growth of modern "identity politics" in the age of genocide-consciousness. In the last decade, Turkey has begun to confront its taboos and finally face up to the Armenian issue. New, more sophisticated histories are being written of the deportations of 1915, now with the collaboration of Turkish scholars. In Turkey itself there has been an astonishing revival of oral history, with tens of thousands of people coming out of the shadows to reveal a long-suppressed Armenian identity. However, a normalization process between the Armenian and Turkish states broke down in 2010. Drawing on archival sources, reportage and moving personal stories, de Waal tells the full story of Armenian-Turkish relations since the Genocide in all its extraordinary twists and turns.
He strips away the propaganda to look both at the realities of a terrible historical crime and also the divisive "politics of genocide" it produced. The book throws light not only on our understanding of Armenian-Turkish relations but also of how mass atrocities and historical tragedies shape contemporary politics. Read less
About the author: Thomas De Waal
Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus and Black Sea region and currently Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International... Read more
Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus and Black Sea region and currently Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of three books, including The Caucasus: An Introduction. From 1991 to 2000, de Waal worked as a newspaper journalist in Moscow and for the BBC World Service in London. Read less
Thomas de Waal writes an excellent introduction to the subject, concentrating on how the post-genocide era has seen changes of attitude towards that tragedy. Tablet [An] admirably fair-minded new...Read more
Thomas de Waal writes an excellent introduction to the subject, concentrating on how the post-genocide era has seen changes of attitude towards that tragedy. Tablet [An] admirably fair-minded new book... [Great Catastrophe] admirably demonstrates how contestations over a history of atrocity continue to shape - and distort - today's politics. Irish Times, Lawrence Douglas Measured and meticulous. Financial Times, David Gardner de Waal's biggest contribution is his overview of the interlocking phases of Turkish and Armenian history after 1915. Trenchant and colourful anecdotes abound, along with some surprising facts. Economist [Offers] painful reading, compelling for the general reader, cathartic for Armenian and Turk alike. Spectator, Justin Marozzi [An] excellent study. Literary Review, Donald Rayfield Sensitively judged - conversant in all the arguments, sympathetic to all perspectives, and full of interviews. It includes plenty of interest to both specialists and non-specialists. Hurriyet Daily News, William Armstrong What makes the book an invaluable contribution to the debate is his description of the long-term impact these traumatic events have had on Turks but especially on Armenians, and his effort to go beyond the question that has dominated the discussion for so long now: Should these events be labeled as genocide or not? Today's Zaman, Joost Lagendijk This magnificent book is the ideal introduction to a difficult subject. Historically rigorous but also full of compassion, it will educate the expert as well as the curious beginner. Highly recommended for Turks, Armenians, and everyone else. Stephen Kinzer, author of Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds Finely researched and elegantly written, Tom de Waal's historical travelogue is an empathetic guide to how Armenians and Turks can ease the century of pain and conflict that succeeded the genocidal Ottoman destruction of the Armenian presence in Anatolia in 1915. Hugh Pope, author of Turkey Unveiled: a History of Modern Turkey Great Catastrophe is a frank, honest, humane effort to understand the events surrounding the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Thomas de Waal writes with empathy and respect for the various contending narratives while avoiding an equivocating 'balance' that dishonors the events and the victims themselves. Meticulously researched and scrupulously fair, it attempts to comprehend and recount for a broad audience the complexity and pain of the MedZ Yeghern in the hope that average Turks and Armenians might continue the process of recognition, repentance and reconciliation that will allow them both to heal and be redeemed. Michael Lemmon, Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Read less