"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ottoman Genocides

The Armenian genocide continues to generate scholarly attention, often in an increasingly wider context of other genocides, then and since. Now a new book from Oxford continues to expand our understanding:  R.G. Suny et al, eds., A Question of Genocide: Armenians and Turks at the End of the Ottoman Empire (OUP, 2011), 448pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
One hundred years after the deportations and mass murder of Armenians, Assyrians, and other peoples in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the history of the Armenian Genocide remains a victim of historical distortion, state-sponsored falsification, and the deep divisions between Armenians and Turks. Working together for the first time, Turkish, Armenian, and other scholars present here the most accurate reconstruction of what happened and why. This book is the product of a decade of scholarly encounters that launched intense investigations by historians and other social scientists dedicated to honest exploration of one of history's greatest tragedies.
While the word "genocide" still divides communities, there is no longer any serious doubt that the Young Turk government ordered and carried out in 1915-1916 mass deportations and massacres targeted toward designated ethnoreligious groups. This volume includes reviews of the historical debates surrounding these events, portraits of the perpetrators, detailed accounts of the massacres themselves, and reflections on the broader implications of what happened then on what might happen now. Here history is not only the stories that we tell about the past but the foundation on which might be built new understandings of the present and possible futures.

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