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The recent events in the Persian Gulf have made it clearer than ever that understanding the history of the Middle East is essential if a solution is to be found for its problems today. The story of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is an important and enthralling part of that history. 6 maps.


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The recent events in the Persian Gulf have made it clearer than ever that understanding the history of the Middle East is essential if a solution is to be found for its problems today. The story of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is an important and enthralling part of that history. 6 maps.

30 review for Ataturk: A Biography of Mustafa Kemal, Father of Modern Turkey

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    How many people do you know who have - defeated a super-power - established themsleves a superior military tactician - removed a corrupt imperial power - revitalised education and the language - reformed the writing system by changing scripts - replaced a religon-based legal system with a modern secular constitution and set of laws - revived national, civic and architectural pride - negotiated the peaceful transfer of the popoulations of two major regions without further loss of life - established a rep How many people do you know who have - defeated a super-power - established themsleves a superior military tactician - removed a corrupt imperial power - revitalised education and the language - reformed the writing system by changing scripts - replaced a religon-based legal system with a modern secular constitution and set of laws - revived national, civic and architectural pride - negotiated the peaceful transfer of the popoulations of two major regions without further loss of life - established a republic - inspired allegience amongst millions even 80 years after his death amongst other achivements, all in a fairly short life? There are precious few 20th Century figures that can come close to the achievements of (Gazi) Mustafa Kemal (later Ataturk). Lord Kinross' biogrpahy is thorough, exhaustive and detailed. In other words, long (500+ pages). But worth every page. While clearly admiring Ataturk and his achievements, Kinross is not afraid to find fault. Not that there is a lot to find, at least in his public achievements. Ataturk's rebirth of Turkey into a modern secular republic was visionary, but was a Herculean task, opposed, we learn, every bitter step of the way. To truly appreciate the respect that modern Turks have for their first republican, his full story and list of achievements need to be understood. Kinross has made that possible for english-speaking readers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    I read this book many years ago, yet it has stuck with me as one of the best biographies I've ever read. He dragged Turkey, kicking and screaming, into the modern era, and tried his darnedest to get it to embrace parliamentary democracy before kicking the bucket himself at an early age, unfortunately, from cirrhosis of the liver. In a sense, he was their version of George Washington, as someone once put it, trying to provide some perspective for an American. But Ataturk wasn't a founding father I read this book many years ago, yet it has stuck with me as one of the best biographies I've ever read. He dragged Turkey, kicking and screaming, into the modern era, and tried his darnedest to get it to embrace parliamentary democracy before kicking the bucket himself at an early age, unfortunately, from cirrhosis of the liver. In a sense, he was their version of George Washington, as someone once put it, trying to provide some perspective for an American. But Ataturk wasn't a founding father so much as a visionary. He not only overthrew the sultan, but dismantled the whole Ottoman way of life. He abolished the veil, the fez, even the Arabic alphabet as the most visible reforms, and it was he who gave women the vote. He married a woman, a writer with an independent streak, as I recall, a union which didn't last (or produce heirs, more's the pity) but was an admirable attempt to put his money where his mouth was. He was ahead of his times, yet ironically failed to groom or appoint a successor who could carry through his reforms into the next century. Turkey has struggled with its identity ever since. I bet he's rolling in his grave as more and more young women cover their hair and political leaders slip into religious conservatism. Ataturk was a soldier, a man of action, and as such someone who would certainly take ownership of his country's actions, right or wrong, in their attempt to remain relevant in today's world.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    In the İstanbul bookstore where I bought this book, I also found a newer biography of Atatürk written in 2000 by Andrew Mango. I stood there for at least 15 minutes browsing through the two books, deciding which one to buy. Eventually I chose the Kinross version, even though it was written more than 40 years ago. It had a personal familiarity with both the man and his age that was extremely compelling, in a way that Mango's very precisely analytical -- and therefore rather sterile -- volume lack In the İstanbul bookstore where I bought this book, I also found a newer biography of Atatürk written in 2000 by Andrew Mango. I stood there for at least 15 minutes browsing through the two books, deciding which one to buy. Eventually I chose the Kinross version, even though it was written more than 40 years ago. It had a personal familiarity with both the man and his age that was extremely compelling, in a way that Mango's very precisely analytical -- and therefore rather sterile -- volume lacked. I have not regretted this choice in the slightest; Kinross's biography contains both the erudition and the narrative consistency to tell the story both fully and accurately. Further, its structure and pacing are expertly executed, allowing the book to hold me captive as a reader and therefore best inform me about one of the most interesting political figures of the 20th century -- and the cultural and historical backdrop that guided his actions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    There is a distressing sameness to most biographies: They begin with their subject's birth, follow him or her through a (mostly) promising youth, until the apogee is reached. From there, it is all downhill. So it is with Lord Kinross in Ataturk. Its subject, Mustafa Kemal, a.k.a. Kemal Ataturk, is the re-inventor of Turkey. What in his youth was a decrepit and moribund empire, he turned into a foward-looking republic (with the overtones of a benign dictatorship) that still reveres him some sixty There is a distressing sameness to most biographies: They begin with their subject's birth, follow him or her through a (mostly) promising youth, until the apogee is reached. From there, it is all downhill. So it is with Lord Kinross in Ataturk. Its subject, Mustafa Kemal, a.k.a. Kemal Ataturk, is the re-inventor of Turkey. What in his youth was a decrepit and moribund empire, he turned into a foward-looking republic (with the overtones of a benign dictatorship) that still reveres him some sixty-five years after his death in 1938. I was of two minds about Ataturk. On one hand, he was a great military hero and a decisive, if not autocratic, political leader. On the other hand, I probably would not have fared terribly well under his rule. But then, there is Turkey today. A hundred years ago, no one would have bet a dime that it would be today a relatively prosperous democracy. That was all Ataturk's doing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A revealing account of the life of one of the most interesting(and overlooked in the West) men of the past century. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who built a modern nation out of a medieval backwater by what amounted to sheer force of will, was a truly amazing giant of history. Kinross clearly has a great admiration for the man, and I worried at first that the text would be little more than hero worship. But he isn't afraid to show that Ataturk, while being brilliant, progressive A revealing account of the life of one of the most interesting(and overlooked in the West) men of the past century. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who built a modern nation out of a medieval backwater by what amounted to sheer force of will, was a truly amazing giant of history. Kinross clearly has a great admiration for the man, and I worried at first that the text would be little more than hero worship. But he isn't afraid to show that Ataturk, while being brilliant, progressive and a wily and adept statesman was also a profoundly flawed individual. From his alcoholism and womanizing to his emotional abuse of both friends and enemies...Ataturk the man was kind of a jerk. But that fact is overshadowed by his vast accomplishments (he abolished the Caliphate and outlawed the Burqa [among other shocking steps forward for the time:]in Turkey!) and his keen and somewhat eerie foresight (he foresaw very clearly the course of the second world war in Europe nearly a decade before it broke out and despite the fact that he died before it really began for instance). It's with good reason that he remains revered as the 'Father of the Turks' in the Republic that he founded and his story is a fascinating one from an eastern or western perspective.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    A truly enlightening book for me, such an amazing leader, with such foresight and skill, I wonder why so little is know of him when his contribution was so significant. Personally I would have like the author to have given more attention to his political and reforming years, section three of the book. His reforms were very far reaching and I would have liked to have learned more of this era of his life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This is a very quaint book that hasn't aged well. The very first line insists on Kemal's "fair" skin and there is numerous mentions of blood and race, such as the "pure fair" blood of his mother etc. The author has a very imperialist view and speaks condescendingly of all non-Western Europeans, frequently speaking of how "primitive" and "savage" the Turks are (the Greeks and Arabs don't come out much better). The historical method is also out of date as there is little use of sources and instead This is a very quaint book that hasn't aged well. The very first line insists on Kemal's "fair" skin and there is numerous mentions of blood and race, such as the "pure fair" blood of his mother etc. The author has a very imperialist view and speaks condescendingly of all non-Western Europeans, frequently speaking of how "primitive" and "savage" the Turks are (the Greeks and Arabs don't come out much better). The historical method is also out of date as there is little use of sources and instead a heavy reliance on anecdote and rumour. The book is readable in part but the middle is an unbearable slog that I ended up skipping. There is also next to no discussion or explanation of the context of Attaturk's time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rick Blasiak

    A little hard to get into because of the numerous place-names that I was unfamiliar with and because this was my first reading of the ottoman -- turkish republic era. Kemal presents lots of contradictions and it seems hard to decipher how he came to hold all of the contraary views at the same time. A womanizer who did a lot for the emancipation of women. Someone who advanced the republic and democratic ideals but was ruthless with a political purge of opponents. Someone who apparently loved Turk A little hard to get into because of the numerous place-names that I was unfamiliar with and because this was my first reading of the ottoman -- turkish republic era. Kemal presents lots of contradictions and it seems hard to decipher how he came to hold all of the contraary views at the same time. A womanizer who did a lot for the emancipation of women. Someone who advanced the republic and democratic ideals but was ruthless with a political purge of opponents. Someone who apparently loved Turkey but thought that its traditions and religion were holding it back and decided to change it. A revolution from the top.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    An interesting read, bogged down with Orientalism and always written under the assumption of its basic premise: that Atatürk was by and large an admirable and great, if flawed, man. Would like to read again.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wesley Gerrard

    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was from humble beginnings. He lived through a critical period of Turkish history, witnessing the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire and making it possible for the modern secular, Western-focused nation state of Turkey to phoenix itself from the Ashes. Atatürk was a military man and although very lucky, his innovative and dedicated intellect assisted in him being Turkeys only undefeated senior commander during World War 1 and their last bastion of defence as plunderers Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was from humble beginnings. He lived through a critical period of Turkish history, witnessing the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire and making it possible for the modern secular, Western-focused nation state of Turkey to phoenix itself from the Ashes. Atatürk was a military man and although very lucky, his innovative and dedicated intellect assisted in him being Turkeys only undefeated senior commander during World War 1 and their last bastion of defence as plunderers tried to savage the imperial remnants of the Ottomans. A weak caliph and a corrupted government, led for quite some time by leaders of the Young Turks, were features that led to Atatürk's politicisation. Eventually, after a civil war, he would set up a new Anatolian capital in Ankara and slowly tried to seep away power and influence from the decadence of Constantinople or Istanbul. Atatürk, was a workaholic. It left him little time for family. He was dependent on alcohol and this would eventually cause his premature death. As power grew within him he could often display treachery towards his old friends and allies, and it was in Atatürk a certain sense of ego that caused some of the more irrational yet adventurous moves in both his career as a soldier and later as a global politician. The man was undoubtedly remarkable and is one of the most colourful and indeed successful people from the early twentieth century. To this day in modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's legacy lives on.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert Bram

    I found this book to be a highly compassionate view of Atatürk's life. Patrick Kinross’ narration is insightful and reads like a story; very different from a dry historical text presenting fact after fact. He draws a rich picture of the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in terms of the changing political, religious and social landscape of his country in the first quarter of the 20th century. Atatürk literally created the nation of Turkey from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire as World War 1 re-drew th I found this book to be a highly compassionate view of Atatürk's life. Patrick Kinross’ narration is insightful and reads like a story; very different from a dry historical text presenting fact after fact. He draws a rich picture of the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in terms of the changing political, religious and social landscape of his country in the first quarter of the 20th century. Atatürk literally created the nation of Turkey from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire as World War 1 re-drew the political lines of Europe. He gives the reader a very personal understanding of the intense sense of purpose and duty that drove Atatürk throughout his life, and also how it led to many contradictions in his life. Atatürk created a secular nation by first engendering the support of eminent religious authority figures, without telling them his aim was a secular nation. Atatürk wanted Turkey to become just like a “modern Western democratic republic”, but became a benign autocrat, leading a one party system where all representatives were hand picked by Atatürk. Kinross begins with Atatürk’s birth in Salonika and traces his troubled early school years and enrolment into the Military Secondary School where Atatürk discovered himself as a soldier and was given the first name “Kemal”, meaning “perfection”. From his portrayal of Atatürk in his younger years, we are given to understand that Atatürk developed very early a fierce sense of dedication to a country he recognized as flawed and in need of change. He demonstrates an astounding prescience, has a sharp mind, a passion for rakı and debate, and an abiding abhorrence for what he saw as the role of religion in the decline of his country. We follow Atatürk through the despairing times of World War 1, where Atatürk’s actions and leadership are nothing short of heroic. The insights he develops into the military and political situation of the time picks him out as a potential threat to his superiors, but also identify him as an invaluable commander. For many years he works in the background to develop a network of resistance against the self serving Ottoman authority. Instead of bringing about a change of government, he finds himself pushed to the side as several revolutionaries take the fore, become despots in their own right and are then torn down – such as Enver Pasha. “Enver Pasha killed Enver Bey” is a telling quote I remember. Eventually the situation for Atatürk comes to a head when the allies of the First World War begin plans to dismantle Turkey and occupy the country. Atatürk, using all his skill and cunning as a diplomat, soldier and hero rallies a new line of defense that pushes the allies out of Turkey and forms a new government, the first Republic of Turkey. I found some important subjects were left out or not given sufficient attention. There was only a passing reference to the swap of Greek and Turkish population in 1923. And although the Kurds’ role in the independence war was described in some detail and the conflicts between Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Turks over land was much discussed, there was no evaluation of Atatürk’s attitude towards each group as a people or how this affected his actions. At times, Kinross seemed too compassionate towards Atatürk, almost apologetic. The book made much of the contradictions within Atatürk, but rarely explored the darker side of his character. Instead, his actions were repeatedly explained or justified by his admirable sense of duty to his country. Nowhere was this clearer than in the portrayal of Atatürk’s involvement in the Independence Tribunals of 1927. These tribunals were brought in to punish the leaders of a Kurdish revolt, but were also used to summarily round up all of Atatürk’s political enemies at the time – including former friends and compatriots without whom the Republic of Turkey may never have come about. I understand now, why there is still a deep reverence throughout Turkey for this politician and leader, Atatürk, who people still call the Father of Turkey. For he was truly the father of Turkey: he led a movement that completely and permanently changed the political and social face of the nation. Turkey changed from a caliphate to a republic, and that was just the beginning. After that, Atatürk gave the people a new language (yes, “gave” – he helped create it and personally taught it); laws were introduced changing the national costume; and women were made equal to men – all this in less than fifteen years! I also understand that a major part of Atatürk’s legacy is the shock of such massive changes introduced in such an extremely short time – a shock that still resonates today. At least one of the multiple coup d'état in the latter half of the 20th century (after Atatürk’s death) were instituted by people who felt empowered to act by a sense of duty and revolution that Atatürk himself encouraged. The fact that religion lost its primacy under Atatürk also left his country with a deep and lingering conflict between religious and secular life that is at the forefront of Turkey’s political situation today. Much like present day Indonesia, religious parties have gained prominence and seek to re-assert religion as part of government. I began reading this book on the plane trip home from my first holiday in Turkey to visit my partner's family. It took me six months to finish the book and has given me a much deeper connection with this beautiful country and the people I met. If you are a student of history, or if you have ever visited Turkey and wanted to know “how”.. I highly recommend this book. From my blog: http://robertmarkbram.blogspot.com.au...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Given that President Erdogan seems to think he's the reincarnation of Ataturk... Given that President Erdogan seems to think he's the reincarnation of Ataturk...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erçağ Pinçe

    First, I read bits and pieces from here and there about the inclination and sympathy of the author towards Atatürk regarding his glories during WWI and the Turkish war of independence. According to several resources, Sir Kinross' work is very much biased which uplifts Atatürk's position to a god-like Übermensch in the eyes of Turkish people. Then, after reading the last few chapters, I found out quite a negative portrait of Atatürk, a tenacious man who easily holds grudge on others, a lonely man First, I read bits and pieces from here and there about the inclination and sympathy of the author towards Atatürk regarding his glories during WWI and the Turkish war of independence. According to several resources, Sir Kinross' work is very much biased which uplifts Atatürk's position to a god-like Übermensch in the eyes of Turkish people. Then, after reading the last few chapters, I found out quite a negative portrait of Atatürk, a tenacious man who easily holds grudge on others, a lonely man indulging himself with earthly pleasures, a highly dismissive grim faced leader, all in all a soft dictator. Very much like the BBC documentary where his militaristic abilities are highly praised but his clever statesmanship was left out. He was portrayed a lone wolf, throughout the last few chapters, who is holding up the power and using his notoriety for his own benefit. Just like any western intellectual, Lord Kinross treats Atatürk's "shock treatment" as inapt and juvenile, which is totally unfit for a middle-eastern country. To me, this already proves that Atatürk was very well aware of his limited time and necessity to complete a cultural transformation of mostly ignorant Turkish population into a modern society. I found the author's comments on Atatürk's position as the leader of the newborn Turkish state quite unfair and a bit biased. Apart from these, I think, the book is an extensive study that exposes a large set of cross sections from Atatürk's life in chronological order to the reader. It made me felt that he was only human and lived a hell of a life sacrificed for his own people. One should, I guess, read Andrew Mango's Atatürk biography to have a complete picture of his immense personality and the man behind the curtain who created a nation through force and glory. One last note: I wished he did not rely on Halide Edip's diary and anecdotes too much.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aedin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I haven't read a biography in my life; But I'm glad I did CAUSE IT WAS A WELL WRITTEN BOOK. I haven't read any books by Lord Kinross because I haven't look at any other book's he's written because I'm already reading another. In this book I feel like Kinross could have written a little bit about other Generals and politicians to get an wider understanding of not just who Ataturk was but his environment and the people around him were like. I wasn't very happy with how Ataturk died but what can yo I haven't read a biography in my life; But I'm glad I did CAUSE IT WAS A WELL WRITTEN BOOK. I haven't read any books by Lord Kinross because I haven't look at any other book's he's written because I'm already reading another. In this book I feel like Kinross could have written a little bit about other Generals and politicians to get an wider understanding of not just who Ataturk was but his environment and the people around him were like. I wasn't very happy with how Ataturk died but what can you do? He just died of Liver cirrhosis in his sleep; it wasn't a 'bang' or anything. It's not the writers fault. It's my fault for my expectation of a death worthy of Ataturk. The ONLY complaint about how the author wrote the book is that he spelled city names phonetically. Ex. Ankora; I wish he said the real name then the phonetic spelling. Ex. Ankara (Ankora). That's it. Yeet-

  15. 5 out of 5

    Terry Quirke

    Enjoyable and informative, but dated. The book is roughly 50+ years old now and is reflected in some of the areas it skims over probably due to lack of access and information at that time (such as the Armenian genocide), but it still provides a good primer to how modern Turkey cam to be and the influence Ataturk had upon its creation and culture. I'd like to try and get a more modern and up-dated version of this story now as it is quiet an interesting area and whatever his faults, Ataturk had a Enjoyable and informative, but dated. The book is roughly 50+ years old now and is reflected in some of the areas it skims over probably due to lack of access and information at that time (such as the Armenian genocide), but it still provides a good primer to how modern Turkey cam to be and the influence Ataturk had upon its creation and culture. I'd like to try and get a more modern and up-dated version of this story now as it is quiet an interesting area and whatever his faults, Ataturk had a keen and insightful mind of where the world was heading with WW2 on the horizon and its consequences.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    When Turkey was born, Mustafa Kemal was the founding father. A political and military genius, alcoholic, and much more. To understand modern-day Turkey, one must start with Ataturk.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Couldn't finish this. As is the problem with many biographies, way too much detail to avoid boring a reader who is not fascinated with the subject. Couldn't finish this. As is the problem with many biographies, way too much detail to avoid boring a reader who is not fascinated with the subject.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Fitzpatrick

    Though bearing an unnecessary 200 or so pages, the book nevertheless paints a comprehensive and detailed picture of one of the more highly influential soldiers and statesmen of the last 100 years. Kinross doesn't shy from showing the sometimes ruthless and unstable sides of the hero. Ultimately, the mass amount of detail and writing flourishes convey his respect for a shrewd tactician and transformative, if autocratic, politician- one responsible for creating a more global Turkish state. Though bearing an unnecessary 200 or so pages, the book nevertheless paints a comprehensive and detailed picture of one of the more highly influential soldiers and statesmen of the last 100 years. Kinross doesn't shy from showing the sometimes ruthless and unstable sides of the hero. Ultimately, the mass amount of detail and writing flourishes convey his respect for a shrewd tactician and transformative, if autocratic, politician- one responsible for creating a more global Turkish state.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Drake

    I found this to be fairly dry and full of military stories which show Kemal as a larger than life war-hero more than as a statesman. For a time with so much turmoil as the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the author hardly addresses the larger political situation and also falls for a great deal of western idealist tropes and orientalism. After reading this, I am more confused than ever in trying to understand Turkish history and the evolution of modern Turkey.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Macdonald

    Detailed traditional biography of the father of the Turks Very detailed and old-fashioned, this epic history captures the strange autocratic personality of Kemal Ataturk. Excellent insight into a capricious and thoughtful leader, this is traditional historical narrative at its best.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Severn Mo

    An interesting read, but can feel a bit dated at times. As well Balfour appears to go down the path of hero worship, where he decries the political intrigue that Ataturks competitors were engaged in, which was the exact same variety as Kemal's. An interesting read, but can feel a bit dated at times. As well Balfour appears to go down the path of hero worship, where he decries the political intrigue that Ataturks competitors were engaged in, which was the exact same variety as Kemal's.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Murat Sulukan

    I think this book is very good a masterpiece book about explain to first 30th years of 20th century. Although wrote by an English researcher and historian, take attention be unbiased. Absolutely, I recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Scott

    This was a revelation for me. I arrived at the book knowing of Ataturk's name and little else. His story is epic and astonishing. An imperfect man who tried to perfect his country between and after the World Wars. Ataturk's accurate analysis of the state of Europe prior to the Second World War is chilling but also displays his deep knowledge of political affairs in the 1930's. I learned an incredible amount about Turkey, Russia, Greece and the Middle East. The meddling hands of Great Britain and This was a revelation for me. I arrived at the book knowing of Ataturk's name and little else. His story is epic and astonishing. An imperfect man who tried to perfect his country between and after the World Wars. Ataturk's accurate analysis of the state of Europe prior to the Second World War is chilling but also displays his deep knowledge of political affairs in the 1930's. I learned an incredible amount about Turkey, Russia, Greece and the Middle East. The meddling hands of Great Britain and the United States played a fumbling role throughout. The steadfast attitude of Ataturk was a contrast to the prevarication and an attitude of colonialist superiority displayed by the West. Highly recommended for filling the historical gap between Asia and Europe in the 20th Century.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ertuğrul

    Very good

  25. 4 out of 5

    Omar Taufik

    This was a book I really enjoyed reading ! An autobiography of the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founder of the republic of Turkey, a history of the last half century of the Ottoman empire and first two decades of the Turkish Republic. The book is a journey starting with the birth of Mustafa Kemal in late Ottoman Salonica going through his bringing up, his Ottoman military career, war of independence, establishment of the republic .. ending on his deathbed in Dolmabahçe palace Istanbul November 1 This was a book I really enjoyed reading ! An autobiography of the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founder of the republic of Turkey, a history of the last half century of the Ottoman empire and first two decades of the Turkish Republic. The book is a journey starting with the birth of Mustafa Kemal in late Ottoman Salonica going through his bringing up, his Ottoman military career, war of independence, establishment of the republic .. ending on his deathbed in Dolmabahçe palace Istanbul November 1938. The author wrote this book marvelously having the reader of this period of contemporary history read with the awe and depth of fiction written by a professional novelist .. he amazed me how he analyzed the different stages of Mustafa Kemal's personality , doing the same amazing description to most of the other main characters in the book .. the historical events were written in such an attractive immersive way as if viewing them in a 20th century movie cinema hall ... The Kemalist reforms were displayed with great talent and knowledge .. having in mind that they were displayed from a Western point of view especially in the areas related to religion where reading them in this context with the author background and generation gives that he was fair in this subject's regards ... A very important advantage of this book is the fact that the author's sources included actual characters in the book who actually experienced the whole story including actual partners of Mustafa Kemal along with access to official archives in Ankara This book as a book on Atatürk is a five star plus book recommended to readers interested in Mustafa Kemal, the late Ottoman and early Republic of Turkey history. Have to note a book with such depth and details might be difficult to grasp for beginners in the subject.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    Kinross’ biography of Atatürk is everything which you could ask for of a biography, and is written with a thoroughness which is enabled only by the author’s unapologetic admiration for Atatürk. I make this last point with no criticism, Atatürk is a man worthy of intense admiration, and his existence alone makes it difficult for me to fully refute the idea of Great Man history. This biography is definitely written with this in mind, and through learning of Atatürk’s life you’ll also be injected w Kinross’ biography of Atatürk is everything which you could ask for of a biography, and is written with a thoroughness which is enabled only by the author’s unapologetic admiration for Atatürk. I make this last point with no criticism, Atatürk is a man worthy of intense admiration, and his existence alone makes it difficult for me to fully refute the idea of Great Man history. This biography is definitely written with this in mind, and through learning of Atatürk’s life you’ll also be injected with a wealth of knowledge concerning the geopolitical world in which he functioned.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ioannis Papagiannis

    Great overview and reasonably well written. Definitely worth the time. That said, I wish it was written by a modern day historian instead.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Earl Grey Tea

    This red behemoth sat on my night stand much longer that I had anticipated. Carrying this tome in my backpack along with other supplies for work doesn't really help back problems when you already have a couple of disks a bit too close to each other. I was on a bit of a Netflix binge the autumn season, but I feel that phase is starting to pass and I'm concentrating more on the books on my shelves. There was a lot in this book about Kemal Atatürk from his early childhood up until the death. I was a This red behemoth sat on my night stand much longer that I had anticipated. Carrying this tome in my backpack along with other supplies for work doesn't really help back problems when you already have a couple of disks a bit too close to each other. I was on a bit of a Netflix binge the autumn season, but I feel that phase is starting to pass and I'm concentrating more on the books on my shelves. There was a lot in this book about Kemal Atatürk from his early childhood up until the death. I was able to learn a plethora of information about him and have a better understand about the man who lead the transition from the collapsing Ottoman Empire into the relatively secular country of Turkey. From this book, I was able to realize how intense of a man Atatürk was. With a strong will and with almost non-stop energy, he was able to strong-arm, bully, or inspire people to follow him in the gargantuan task of totally overhauling and entire country of people. After recently finishing a book about Napoleon, I've noticed personality traits of the "Great Men" of history that both Napoleon and Atatürk had. At the age of 32, I realize that I don't have most of these qualities, so I think I will have to abandon my dreams of political ascendancy or world domination. Sigh... While there is a lot of great information to learn in this book - though the multitude of Turkish names can definitely be overwhelming at times - I have to say that the biggest complaint that I have of this book is that it seems to leave out almost anything negative about Atatürk. I completely understand that this man accomplished a great magnitude in his life, much more than I will ever be able to, but the only flaws that I took away from this book was that he could be a bit of bully, a lush, and a womanizer. Despite my qualms, I am glad that I read this book and have a much better understanding of this key point of time in early 20th century.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Okan Celik

    the best and the most detailed book about Ataturk

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bap

    When you travel in Turkey it seems that every square, every schoolyard has a statute to Ataturk who first gained fame in the battle of Gallipoli where he commanded the Turkish troops on that first day and checked the British advance which hemmed in the British on the beaches and led to a Turkish victory. He seized power after the first world war after the Ottoman empire had been stripped of much of its territory. The greeks invaded and had penetrated deeply into the interior when Ataturk won a h When you travel in Turkey it seems that every square, every schoolyard has a statute to Ataturk who first gained fame in the battle of Gallipoli where he commanded the Turkish troops on that first day and checked the British advance which hemmed in the British on the beaches and led to a Turkish victory. He seized power after the first world war after the Ottoman empire had been stripped of much of its territory. The greeks invaded and had penetrated deeply into the interior when Ataturk won a huge victory that not only expelled the Greeks but also restored Trkish independence. However, the most astounding aspect of Ataturk was his modernization movement much like Peter the Great in Rusia and the Japanese in the late 19th cebtury. He embraced a western alphabet, outlawed the wearing of the burka, vastly reduced the power of the mullas, and decreed that woman would have absolute equality. For his time and his place, he was a revolutionary figure. Turkey still struggles and the jury is still out whether a western "modern" approach shall prevail and succeed but the fact that it has for almost 50 years is a testament to one of the remarkable leaders of the 20th century. This book covers it all. It is a bit plodding and dry but the subject mattter is so compelling that it is a good read. I know of no better book on ataturk. He was quite the swordsman, father of his country indeed.

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