Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

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9780199350698: Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide
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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.

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Review:

Great Catastrophe is an excellent book, remarkable notably for its in-depth discussion of the wisdom of formal acknowledgements, by law or otherwise, of the genocide. De Waal, by and large, ends up against the legal recognition of genocide, which he believes does not serve either historical truth or reconciliation. At the same time, he is critical of the stubborn denial of the genocide by Turkish officialdom: that final part of the book is an important contribution to the ongoing debate on memory and its mutual acknowledgement in relations among countries. (- Gilles Andréani, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy)

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)

De Waal is an engaging narrator (Caucasius Survey)

De Waal brings a much needed perspective to highly contested subject matter, providing a vivid sense of inter-connectedness of the histories and experiences of Armenians, Turks, Kurds and other minorities inhabiting the Ottoman/Russian borderlands. (Patterns of Prejudice)

About the Author:

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.

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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 Armeniansacross 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. FirstArmenians 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 toreturn 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 contemporarypolitics. Seller Inventory # ABE9780199350698

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