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A History of International Human Rights and Forgotten Heroes In this national bestseller, the critically acclaimed author Peter Balakian brings us a riveting narrative of the massacres of the Armenians in the 1890s and of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Using rarely seen archival documents and remarkable first-person accounts, Balakian prese A History of International Human Rights and Forgotten Heroes In this national bestseller, the critically acclaimed author Peter Balakian brings us a riveting narrative of the massacres of the Armenians in the 1890s and of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Using rarely seen archival documents and remarkable first-person accounts, Balakian presents the chilling history of how the Turkish government implemented the first modern genocide behind the cover of World War I. And in the telling, he resurrects an extraordinary lost chapter of American history. Awarded the Raphael Lemkin Prize for the best scholarly book on genocide by the Institute for Genocide Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center.


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A History of International Human Rights and Forgotten Heroes In this national bestseller, the critically acclaimed author Peter Balakian brings us a riveting narrative of the massacres of the Armenians in the 1890s and of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Using rarely seen archival documents and remarkable first-person accounts, Balakian prese A History of International Human Rights and Forgotten Heroes In this national bestseller, the critically acclaimed author Peter Balakian brings us a riveting narrative of the massacres of the Armenians in the 1890s and of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Using rarely seen archival documents and remarkable first-person accounts, Balakian presents the chilling history of how the Turkish government implemented the first modern genocide behind the cover of World War I. And in the telling, he resurrects an extraordinary lost chapter of American history. Awarded the Raphael Lemkin Prize for the best scholarly book on genocide by the Institute for Genocide Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Graduate Center.

30 review for The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    An excellent overview of the stages of the Armenian genocide during World War 1 and how it sprang from deliberate government policies and a long history of oppression. I knew how it has been neglected in many ways in the world’s consciousness, but until reading this I didn’t understand why. I also didn’t understand how much it was a replay of the massacres of 20 years earlier. Bearing witness to this tragic tale is an important part of my enlightenment. However, reading this book was far from si An excellent overview of the stages of the Armenian genocide during World War 1 and how it sprang from deliberate government policies and a long history of oppression. I knew how it has been neglected in many ways in the world’s consciousness, but until reading this I didn’t understand why. I also didn’t understand how much it was a replay of the massacres of 20 years earlier. Bearing witness to this tragic tale is an important part of my enlightenment. However, reading this book was far from simply experiencing the evil of humans at their worst. Balakian also gives significant airplay to creative work and brave efforts by outsiders and by the Armenians themselves to stop the massacres or to provide relief for the victims. The author, who just this year was honored with a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, brings his skills in writing into effective play to bring many of their stories to life. There is a lot of history tucked into this book. A preface reminds us how the Armenian people and culture emerged in eastern Anatolia thousands of years ago, how it was the first state to adopt Christianity (in 301 AD), and then after periods of being conquered in turn by neighboring Byzantine, Persian, and Russian Empires, the Armenians attained a small kingdom on the Mediterranean between the 11th and 14th centuries (Cilician Armenia). With the rise of the Ottoman Turkish empire in the 16th century, the Armenians somehow retained their identity under four centuries of their rule, maintaining prosperous professional and business classes despite their limited rights as “infidels”. As the Ottoman Empire began to experience unrest with its Christian subjects in its European territories, its sultans began to get more oppressive to its Christian minorities in Anatolia, including its populations of ethnic Greeks and Assyrians as well as the Armenians. Small incidences of protest by Armenian intellectuals, such as over the double taxation they were subject to by both the state and Kurdish warlords, were becoming used as justification for localized massacres by the military and isolated pogroms by Turks stirred up by propaganda. In 1894-95, such massacres swept systematically through Turkey under orchestration of Sultan Ahmed Hamid II, resulting in about 100 thousand Armenians killed directly and an equal number indirectly. Modern Turkey with the tiny Republic of Armenia on its eastern border Historical map with hatched boundaries denoting provinces with predominant Armenian populations during Ottoman rule in the center, Cilician Armenia of the Middle Ages on the left, and the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia in the upper right. Almost all these place names were new to me, but not not now. The book’s narrative starts in the Boston area in the 1890’s. Right at the time American imperialism was beginning to emerge, a counterforce of humanitarian activism was being born. The New England Protestant missionaries of the 19th century had developed a great affinity for the Armenians, establishing missions, schools, colleges, and hospitals throughout Turkey. They were well placed to spread the word about what was happening and to help lead the relief effort. Allied with the missionary organizations in the U.S. were leaders steeped in human rights causes of abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. Balakian presents us a moving story of public speaking, fundraising, and journalism by people like Julia Ward Howe and Isabel Stone Barrows. Soon an international relief effort was mounted under the auspices of the American Red Cross and led by Clara Barton. This amazing effort included not only food, clothing, and medical resources, but also farming implements and supplies to help mitigate the impending famine. This new form of American leadership and precursor to disaster response agencies we have today is something to be proud of. The political response was less effective. An American senator, frustrated in a lack of cohesive and effective response, is quoted as saying: “Has it come to this, that in the last days of the nineteenth century humanity itself is placed on trial?” No international pressures could change Hamid’s strategy to total denial of responsibility. Just 13 years later, in 1909 another set of massacres of 15-30 thousand Armenians took place in the Adana region north of today’s Syria. The rise of the so-called YoungTurks had led to establishment of a secular constitutional government led by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), and what happened in Adana was a violent reaction by populations who favored restitution of the theocracy and antagonism toward Armenians who expected to gain rights under the new regime. Later, any form of alignment between the oppressed Armenians and the CUP was doomed by the unfavorable outcome to the Ottoman empire from the two Balkan Wars of 1912-13. The loss of dominion over Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, and lands to Greece and the massive immigration of Muslim refugees from eastern Europe both greatly amplified a radical nationalism tied up with a perceived threat from the Christian minorities of Anatolia. With the onset of World War 1 and excuses of national security, the Ottoman government had more freedom to pursue a more direct strategy of extermination of the Armenians. The stunning defeat after their ill planned invasion of Armenian regions of Russia in 1914 helped give birth to this strategy. With about 1 to 1.5 million Armenians dying from the program of government between 1915 and 1920, we are clearly in the same ballpark as the Nazi Holocaust. In many ways it served as a model for that Final Solution. As in Nazi Germany laws allowing deportation of any population suspected of sedition and seizure of their property paved the way for systematic resolution of the “Armenian Problem”. Balakian gives us a clear picture of the pervasiveness of the slaughter in 1915 throughout all provinces of Turkey, including the definitive smoking guns in the form of coded orders from the triumvirate among the “Young Turks” running the nation through the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP): Talaat Pasha (Ministry of Interior), Enver Pasha (Ministry of War), and Jemal Pasha (Ministry of Navy). Under the organizing plan of a secretive security branch termed the “Special Organization” and help from regular military and police forces whole Armenian neighborhoods and villages were emptied, first of the able men under the guise of work gangs and then the women, children, and elderly under the typical deception of a temporary move for safety. The young men and leaders were usually killed soon in secluded locations, and the rest put on long transports by cart, trains, and/or forced marches to multiple remote killing sites. Many were killed with knives and crude weapons and disposed of in trenches or lakes, frequently in conjunction with rape of the women. Thousands of women were forced into sexual slavery in harems and kids stolen to be raised in Muslim families. But the majority died due to active neglect leading to starvation and exposure. Among the many personal stories that put a human face to this history, that of Ambassador Morgantheu’s intense but failing efforts to stop the slaughter was especially heroic and moving for me. The story of Leslie Davis, an American missionary in the central Anatolian province of Harput, was even more dramatic, as he risked his life to monitor, protect, and harbor Armenians in the thick of unfolding events. His account to sneaking out a lake where tens of thousands were killed months earlier (Goeljuk,which is the origin of the Tigris River)and experiencing through his eyes human remains everywhere sticking up out of the sand or in piles at the bottom of ravines made me cry. As typical, the first to be disposed of were the intellectuals and prominent citizens, heading off any organized response of resistance. A professor at the local Armenian college (Donabed Lulejian) escaped from this fate after being tortured and harbored by the consulate captured the lakeside massacres in a moving prose poem with these lines from “A Handful of Earth”: At least a handful of earth for these slain bodies, for these whitened bones! A handful of earth, at least, for these unclaimed dead … There are our women with breasts uncovered and limbs bare. A handful of earth to shield their honor! There are our boys, naked and torn, with bullets in their hearts and in their heads: a handful of earth to cover them! There are our brides, disemboweled, hacked to pieces, with babies yet unborn:a handful of earth only, to screen from our eyes this sorrowful scene! There are our boys with feet cut away and heads battered against the stone… I had learned some about the massacres in 1915 from Bohjalian’s “The Sandcastle” girls. That novel covered mainly the killings in the deserts near Aleppo, Syria, primarily of women and children that were already decimated from forced marches from distant villages. I needed this picture of the systematic orchestration of the genocide. I didn’t know that President Wilson’s counsel from his friends in the missionary societies contributed to America never declaring war on Turkey. Their argument that neutrality would allow the missions to remain in place and maintain preventative leverage and relief efforts. I also didn’t know that there were war crime trials after the war in which the government culpability was exposed. Only a few mid-level government participants were sentenced before the legal process was aborted by a new war for Turkish independence led by Mustafa Kemal (aka Ataturk). Because America was not directly in the war against the Ottomans, it had no leverage in the slow European negotiations of peace. The politics of oil and business prospects made the fate of other areas of the former empire of more interest than the goal of a safe homeland for the Armenians. In 1918, the Armenian dominated regions over the border in Russian Georgia as a republic and many refugees from Anatolia migrated there. President Wilson directed two different American commissions to review the prospects of a reconstituted Armenia that included much of eastern Anatolia and parts of these Russian province under a proposed U.S. mandate. However, in this critical period Wilson was prevented from achieving such a goal by his concentration on the League of Nations, debility from a stroke, and the post-war isolationism of the Republican majority in Congress. In reaction to the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, which carved up the Ottoman Empire among the Allies and did grant Armenia a homeland , Turks rallied behind the revolutionary government of Kemal in fighting back. An early step in this Turkish War of Independence involved invasion of Russian Armenia and continuation of the plan to wipe Armenia off the map and history. The Bolsheviks countered this plan and, in the face of total obliteration, the Armenians opted to accept the offer of becoming the smallest republic in the Soviet Union. This was not much of a homeland for the millions of refugees of the diaspora. Only 71 years later in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, did this reduced Armenia emerge as an independent republic. So why was this genocide forgotten? Part of it was the vast scale of human destruction from World War 1 and, as I noted, the greater interest by Europe and eventually the U.S. in the more lucrative parts of the Ottoman Empire. The denial of the genocide by successive Turkish governments continues to this day, and the dependence of the U.S. and later NATO on Turkey as an partner to hold the line against Soviet expansion kept the U.S. and Europe from pushing the issue significantly. With each event of commemorating the massacres, any American presidents who participated have been careful not to single Turkey out as responsible of genocide. Somehow for most other nations when actions of heinous brutality fall back in former generations, they find a way to fess up to a past regime breaking bad (e.g. the U.S. as a slave nation and grossly destructive to the Native Americans). Recently, President Obama went to Hiroshima and at least expressed sympathy for the massive deaths we wreaked on civilians. Though it did not represent an apology, it does acknowledge what we did and the human destruction that was wreaked. Reading about this genocide and others and massive wartime deaths of civilians, I do feel regret on behalf of the “we” I feel for the human race. The professor who wrote about his community who were obliterated at the lake in Harput (and later died of typhus in 1918 after starting an orphanage) is honored by Balakian for putting his experience into lasting words that defy being erased: Lulejian transformed his witness into a benediction, into a prayer for the dead, reminding us that if language can’t bring back the dead, it can insist on the sacredness of life, the civility of burial, and the dignity of memory.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lizziegolightly

    Every year it's the same shit, April 24 rolls around and the L.A. press tries to give a "fair and balanced" look at the ruthless slaughter of Armenian citizens of Turkey at the hands of the Ottoman regime. (That wasn't so fair, nor was it balanced, right?) Armenians across the world say it happened. Turkey says it doesn't and, in its denial, gives the impression that millions of people spread across the world with no link other than an -ian at the end of a name, are connected in some sort of con Every year it's the same shit, April 24 rolls around and the L.A. press tries to give a "fair and balanced" look at the ruthless slaughter of Armenian citizens of Turkey at the hands of the Ottoman regime. (That wasn't so fair, nor was it balanced, right?) Armenians across the world say it happened. Turkey says it doesn't and, in its denial, gives the impression that millions of people spread across the world with no link other than an -ian at the end of a name, are connected in some sort of conspiracy theory. The Burning Tigris is a historical look at the events that took place inside the waning Ottoman Empire in the early portion of the 20th century. Balakian relies on historical documents to present his case that this was indeed Genocide. What is ironic is that the documentation cited herein were from U.S. sources and that the U.S. quite openly assisted Armenians during this turmoil, yet the U.S. refuses to acknowledge that this was a Genocide. I humbly suggest that Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Gates read this book before dissuading congress members from voting for another Genocide Bill. I humbly suggest that anyone who has any question as to whether or not Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenian citizens of the Empire read this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    We are 100 years removed from the Armenian Genocide, when the Turkish government massacred over a million Armenian Christians, along with hundreds of thousands of Assyrian and Greek Christians. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response is superbly grim in documenting this crime against humanity. Why read about it now? Same thing is going on today as ISIS massacres various religious and ethnic minorities in the same region. Balakian asks: (view spoiler)[ What is the role o We are 100 years removed from the Armenian Genocide, when the Turkish government massacred over a million Armenian Christians, along with hundreds of thousands of Assyrian and Greek Christians. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response is superbly grim in documenting this crime against humanity. Why read about it now? Same thing is going on today as ISIS massacres various religious and ethnic minorities in the same region. Balakian asks: (view spoiler)[ What is the role of the most powerful nation in the world when the ultimate crime is being perpetrated in plain view? Why was there no U.S. activist response to the Holocaust, or to Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia in 1978, or to the Rwandan genocide in 1994, when in fact the State Department, media, and general public often knew what was happening in those killing fields? Why is US. policy evasive, sluggish, resistant to action (of various and creative kinds, not simply or only military intervention), and often tinged with denial? Why has there been so little political will at the top when media coverage and popular knowledge and empathy are often large and dramatic? (view spoiler)[Hey, It is not hard to figure out the common thread here. (hide spoiler)] A deeper understanding of these questions and of the history of America’s confrontation with genocide must begin with a study of the Armenian Genocide. For the Armenian Genocide is…the template for most of the genocide that followed in the twentieth century. (hide spoiler)] Aurora Mardiganian’s haunting stare comes across the years. She survived a terrible ordeal. Balakian documents the recurring pogroms against the Armenians in the 1890’s, 1900’s and then the forerunner of the “Final Solution”, the detailed effort to eradicate the Armenian people. What is interesting is that much evidence was gathered and smuggled out by Germans, whose leaders a generation later would use the success of the Turks as a model for their genocidal efforts. The Germans were able to gather information and photos as they built and operated much of the Turkish railway system and were attached to the Turkish Army. American diplomats and missionaries were also key to collecting and reporting the terrible events. Here is what is what like to live as an Armenian in Turkey (it was probably the same for all Christians): (view spoiler)[ Armenians were made vulnerable by other policies that often rendered them incapable of defending themselves. They were not allowed to own weapons, which made them easy prey for Turks and Kurds. Since only Muslims were allowed to join the army to defend Islam, Christians were exempt from military service; if this spared them from warfare, it also kept them out of positions of military power and removed them from the warrior class, with its knowledge and skills. Notwithstanding all that, Christians were also subjected to what was known as boy collection or devshirme, which meant that Ottoman officials would take children from their Christian families, convert them to Islam, and put them to work in the Ottoman military and civil service. Christians also were forced to pay a special head or poll tax which was later converted into a military exemption tax to compensate for their exemption from the service. Armenians paid a “hospitality tax” to the vali (governor) that entitled “government officials, and all who pass as such,” to free lodging and food for three days a year in an Armenian home. Another burden solely for the Armenians was the kishlak, or winter quartering obligation, which enabled Kurds and Turks to quarter themselves, their families, and their cattle in Armenian homes during the long winter months. The fact that the Kurdish way of life was nomadic and rough and the Armenian dwellings did not allow for much privacy made the intrusion unbearable, and knowing that the unarmed Armenians had neither physical nor legal recourse, a well-armed Kurd or Turk could not only steal his host’s possessions but could rape or kidnap the women and girls of the household with impunity. The dhimmi were also required to follow institutionalized codes of behavior. Armenians, for example, had to be deferential before Muslims in public; they could not ride a horse when a Muslim was passing by; they were to wear dress that made them easily identifiable; they were forbidden to own weapons. (hide spoiler)] The Turks had a plan and carried it out methodically. The Kurds were used against the Armenians and gained plunder and property. Americans were intimately familiar with the plight of the Armenians and gave money and support. (view spoiler)[ As survivor accounts and eyewitness reports came to public knowledge through the press, the magnitude of the violence committed against Armenian women—rape and torture, abduction, slavery, and imprisonment in harems—appeared to be unprecedented in modern Western history and it affected Americans deeply. (hide spoiler)] One strong point in the book are the accounts of many noteworthy women. Balakian calls them feminists but I don’t think the term was being used at the time of the 1890’s and 1909 massacres. Nevertheless, there are some very brave women taking action to raise awareness, funds, support and even going to Turkey to administer the aid. Clara Barton is a standout but there are several others of note. Christian missionaries were all over the place, bravely running schools and aid stations and saving lives, sometimes at the cost of their own. I did not think Balakian gave them as much page space as they deserved. I also did not care for his insinuations on the missionaries motivations. Finally, Balakian finds “progressives” and progressive ideas everywhere in this history, German progressives, British progressives, European, Turkish, Armenian, lots of American progressives. They are all just wonderful. Never knew there were so many freakin’ progressives around back then. Mind you, I might have described them and the ideas as “liberal” as is classical small “l” liberal. But what do I know. Like Holocaust literature, this book is replete with grim reading. Here is just one account by a survivor priest named Balakian. He is being taken by a Turkish captain who expects the priest will be killed shortly. They are traveling a “road of bones”: (view spoiler)[ …but that winter floods had washed up the corpses from their shallow graves and scattered then everywhere. When the priest asked him if the remains were of the local Armenian population or of Armenians from far away, Shükri told him that “they were all from the local region.” He went on to say that “this order was carried out most severely by district governor Kemal.” Balakian kept bantering with the Turkish captain, pretending to be an opponent of Armenian “extremists” and a Turcophile, and in this way kept the conversation going. When Balakian asked Captain Shükri if the women were also massacred (because he thought the young ones might be spared and sent into harems), he was told that Kemal (the kaymakam of Boghazlyan) had the women and children massacred, including infants. Kemal even told the captain that he had “made a vow on the honor of the prophet: I shall not leave a single Armenian alive in the sanjak of Yozgat,” a statement that was confirmed at the fifth sitting of the trial on February 12 by Memhet Salim, the military commandant of Yozgat. Shükri went on to tell Balakian how he and District Governor Kamal lured the Armenian women, children, and elderly onto the death march by having the town crier announce that they would be going to meet their husbands in Aleppo and ordering them to bring as much of their valuables and possessions as possible. The native women even made baklavas and coffee cakes to celebrate the reunion with their husbands. About four hundred women and children were sent out on foot or in carriages or oxcarts and taken on a five-hour journey to a place known as Three Mills, where they were fleeced of all their valuables by a group of Turkish women, who were sent in to find all the gold and jewels they had on and in their bodies The women were then massacred with axes, hatchets, scythes, sickles, clubs, pickaxes, and shovels,” Captain Shükri admitted, “in the name of holy jihad” and by “order of the government.” As a priest Balakian was particularly interested in the role of in the massacres and asked Captain Shükri how a religious Muslim could order the murder of innocent women and not be accountable to God and his conscience. The Turkish captain told him that “a jihad was proclaimed...the Sheikh-ul-Islam had issued a fatwa to annihilate the Armenians as traitors to our state, and the Caliph ratified the fatwa.” When the Armenian priest continued by asking him how he “atone for his sins” in the “other world,” the captain answered: “I have already atoned for them as I’ve always done after such killings.... I spread out my prayer rug and pray, giving glory to Allah and the Prophet who made me worthy of personally participating in the holy jihad in these days of my old age.” The captain’s confessions not only corroborate the testimony given at the Yozgat trials, but also disclose something profound about how deeply the ideology of Islamic jihad was part of the psychology of the Turkish extermination program for the Armenians, as well as for the Greeks, Assyrians and other Christians in the Empire. (hide spoiler)] After the Allied victory, a brief period of war crimes justice gives a detailed record of the genocide. One official is hanged for the killings but the growing Kemalist nationalist movement means the trials will end soon. The suppression of the Turkish responsibility for the Armenian Genocide begins soon after. Oil politics are one reason. Another factor is the lack of a nation to take on the “mandate” for a newly established Armenia. Armenia is eventually established as part of the USSR after many more killings. To this day, the political pressure to not recognize the genocide continues. I was surprised to find out even Israel does not acknowledge “genocide”. And American politicians of both parties promise to say the “g”-word when they get into power but somehow don’t. Read about it in this book. Shameful. A very strong recommendation for this sober account of the Armenian Genocide.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ninveh Albazi

    What happened in Turkey between 1915 and 1918 is almost too much to handle. The Burning Tigris hits you straight in the heart. Peter Balakian provides excellent examples of eye witness accounts, international documentations and the Turkish Govt continued denial. Turkey was once the cradle of Armenian and Syriac Christianity. The 1915 Genocide TYT carried out destroyed this sacred culture and religion. My great parents were from Baz village in Hakkari, Turkey. The Young Turks with the help of loc What happened in Turkey between 1915 and 1918 is almost too much to handle. The Burning Tigris hits you straight in the heart. Peter Balakian provides excellent examples of eye witness accounts, international documentations and the Turkish Govt continued denial. Turkey was once the cradle of Armenian and Syriac Christianity. The 1915 Genocide TYT carried out destroyed this sacred culture and religion. My great parents were from Baz village in Hakkari, Turkey. The Young Turks with the help of local villagers murdered numbers of Assyrians in Hakkari, my great grandmother being one of them. More massacres occurred after escaping to Urmia,Iran (another haven for Armenians and Assyrians). This incredible book strikes the human soul. Many thank yous to the angels who helped the Armenians in their desperate time of need and thank you, Peter Balakian, for creating this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nick Coddington

    I am a history teacher and plan to use this book in the fall as part of a 20th Century World History course. The book is enjoyable, but disturbing as the reader discovers how much the US knew and how little we did during this period of time. The author provides excellent primary sources to support his position and detail events.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I think all those in Congress afraid to call a spade a spade should really read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Berj Akian

    Well researched and well written historical account of all the whole series of persecutions and massacres that made up the armenian genocide starting in the late 1890's and continuing for some 30 years.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Br. Thanasi (Thomas) Stama

    When you read this book, be prepared to realize there are things on a scale of horror that we cannot imagine yet the Armenian people went thru it. Not a thousand years ago. Not 500 years ago but only a 100 years ago. Violence that rivals, matches and even surpasses anything you can bring up. I can only have a little peace knowing we will all have to go before the dreaded judgment seat of Christ including those butchers. ISIS, Nazi Germans, Ottoman Turks what each of these groups have done or are d When you read this book, be prepared to realize there are things on a scale of horror that we cannot imagine yet the Armenian people went thru it. Not a thousand years ago. Not 500 years ago but only a 100 years ago. Violence that rivals, matches and even surpasses anything you can bring up. I can only have a little peace knowing we will all have to go before the dreaded judgment seat of Christ including those butchers. ISIS, Nazi Germans, Ottoman Turks what each of these groups have done or are doing is an abomination before God. I need to focus on my own sin and leave theirs' to God. Lord have mercy on us all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    With the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide approaching, it is as good of a time as any for people to educate themselves on what has been noted as the first genocide of the twentieth century. This book focuses on the response of the United States to this event, which constituted "America's first, major international human rights campaign." This response included the chronicling of events by the US foreign service and American missionaries (important given Turkey's subsequent vehement den With the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide approaching, it is as good of a time as any for people to educate themselves on what has been noted as the first genocide of the twentieth century. This book focuses on the response of the United States to this event, which constituted "America's first, major international human rights campaign." This response included the chronicling of events by the US foreign service and American missionaries (important given Turkey's subsequent vehement denial of the genocide), substantial fundraising efforts in America for humanitarian aid for the Armenians and the political struggles (both successes and failures) in the US as Americans were first presented with the dilemma of whether or not it is right to intervene on the grounds of crimes against humanity. It is said that denial is the final stage of the act of genocide against a people. As such, it is the duty of humanity to respect the memory of the victims in order that this final stage of genocide can be prevented where we failed to prevent the other stages of a heinous crime. On these grounds, I highly recommend this book or other books that seek to accurately portray the events of what has become a "forgotten genocide."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robtee

    What the Turks don't want you to know so badly that the facts are not taught in their schools and you can go to jail for discussing it. And they want into the EU?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Regina Lindsey

    In a speech a week before invading Poland, Hitler said to Reichmarshal Hermann Goering and the commanding generals at Obersalzberg, “Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Today, not only do many not speak of it, but strong debate occurs over whether a genocide actually took place. The current Turkish government vehemently denies it. I, like Peter Balakian, fall on the side that the Ottomon Empire enacted the fi In a speech a week before invading Poland, Hitler said to Reichmarshal Hermann Goering and the commanding generals at Obersalzberg, “Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Today, not only do many not speak of it, but strong debate occurs over whether a genocide actually took place. The current Turkish government vehemently denies it. I, like Peter Balakian, fall on the side that the Ottomon Empire enacted the first modern day genocide. Most people think of the Armenian Genocide as the time between 1915 – 1922, when up to 1.5 million people were massacred. What Balakian does brilliantly is show that the “Armenian Question” took place over a much longer period and constituted a “continuum of destruction” that started in the last decade of the 19th century, ““Abdul Hamid’s policy of massacre began what social psychologist Irvin Staub has called a continuum of destruction. As Staub notes a progression of change in a culture and individuals is usually required for a mass killing or genocide. In certain instances – the Armenian Genocide – the progression takes place over decades or even centuries and creates a readiness in the culture.” (pg. 115) Beginning with Sultan Abdul Hamid, the government began disarming Armenian citizens to make it difficult to defend their families, an onerous taxation system was implemented, and words (Armenian, regicide, etc) were removed from usage. “So far did his paranoia carry him that he ordered his censors to expunge all references to H2O from science textbooks because he feared the symbol would be read as meaning ‘Hamid the second is nothing” (pg 49). After Hamid was deposed and the Young Turks took over the stage was set for the WWI period, where, with no international justice meted out, the policies and massacres only intensified, “As evidence became overwhelming, Ambassador Morgenthau - in his quintessentially direct way - repeatedly confronted Talaat Pasha about his government’s treatment of the Armenians…Morgenthau then tried to persuade Talaat by reminding of the economic consequences of wiping out the Armenian population. ‘These people are your businessmen. They control many of your industries. They are very large tax payers.’ ‘We care nothing about the economic loss’ replied Talaat.’ Talaat boasted to the Ambassador, “ I have accomplished more towards solving the Armenian problem in three months than Hamid accomplished in thirty years.” (pg 275) “The name Armenia was in the front of the American mind…known to the American schoolchild only a little less than England,” said Herbert Hoover. In another area where Balakian excels, the reader is provided a tremendous amount of evidence of the amount of coverage the U.S. media gave the atrocities as early as 1890. Unlike the Holocaust under Hitler, Americans galvanized in such a way that brought about the country’s first efforts to provide international aid to Armenians. In fact, the Armenian Question motivated Clara Barton to take the American Red Cross into an international crisis for the first time. But, what Balakian leaves you with is a number of questions. Why was this event so different than that of the Jews in Germany? Was it the fact that there was a large and growing Armenian population in the U.S? Was it the fact that during the 1890’s the women’s suffrage movement and civil rights movement were coalescing and those leaders felt a kinship to the suffering Armenians? Or was it because it was Christians suffering rather than Jews? Or, was it a combination of several of those? Finally, Balakian articulates a clear cut connection between Hitler’s famous statement and his knowledge of the implementation of the Armenian Genocide. It appears the key is Scheubner –Richter, who was killed at Hitler’s side in Munich. “Scheubner –Richter, an early Nazi party member, conveyed to Hitler after World War I his first-hand knowledge of the Armenian Genocide, which no doubt contributed to Hitler’s sense that a minority population could be dispensed of with impunity.” Pg 167. It is also known that Scheubner-Richter left a detailed record to the Armenian Genocide in the German Foreign Office and is found in the book Germany and Armenia. Sadly, there are also the missed opportunities of the international community in stopping the slaughter or bringing those who participated to justice. “…the Turks had begun a series of courts-martial in Constantinople, aimed at bringing the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide to justice. The trials represent a mile-stone in the history of war-crimes tribunals. Although they were truncated in the end by political pressures, and directed by Turkey’s domestic laws rather than international tribunal, the Constantinople trials were an antecedent to the Nuremburg Trials following World War II.” (pg 231). But, the war weary British under Churchill traded 43 Turkish prisoners accused of perpetrating the Armenian massacres in exchange for British prisoners and the U.S., in much the same way that they turned their eye to Japanese atrocities against the Chinese over cold war alliances, were much more interested in a strategic alliance with Turkey against the Soviet Union. I selected this book because I had an incredibly crazy period at work and feel like I’m pretty well versed in this subject. I thought it would be basically a review. I now regret that I checked the book out from the library because I would have marked this book up had I owned it. I will say, however, there are a couple of criticisms. First, Balakian can be incredibly repetitive. Secondly, he tends to overstate some facts. For instance, he says that the Armenian Genocide is the first time that “crimes against humanity” entered the vernacular. If he means it was the first time that “crimes against humanity was attempted to be prosecuted, that is probably accurate. But, the term has been used at least as far back as Lincoln related to the slave trade. While he doesn’t delineate his intention, I am giving Balakian the benefit of the doubt because I haven’t found anything blatantly inaccurate. Still, I think this is an excellent book on the subject, he even gives you literature if the reader is interested in the Turkish denial, for anyone interested in the subject. It is well structured, provides incredible context, and very easy to read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Back in my junior year of college, one of my teachers was a doctoral student of Armenian decent. Her family, in particular, was able to flee Yemen (or perhaps it was Lebanon?), thanks to her dad's work and claim asylum in Canada. Her stories about the pretending to be happy while crossing the most deadly line, where many people were shot, made me wonder who were the Armenians and what were they fleeing. She highlighted the fact that Armenians were hated for being Christian, and that because they Back in my junior year of college, one of my teachers was a doctoral student of Armenian decent. Her family, in particular, was able to flee Yemen (or perhaps it was Lebanon?), thanks to her dad's work and claim asylum in Canada. Her stories about the pretending to be happy while crossing the most deadly line, where many people were shot, made me wonder who were the Armenians and what were they fleeing. She highlighted the fact that Armenians were hated for being Christian, and that because they were Christian, they were able to exercise more freedoms, such as getting plastic surgery and wearing crazy hair colors. People got plastic surgery just because they could and to flaunt the freedom that they had that Muslims didn't. I didn't know anything about the Armenian Genocide. I saw this book at an American Association of University Women book sale, and I picked it up, hoping to learn more about why my teacher fled the country that she did, but instead I've opened up a new area that I didn't even knew existed. I will admit that I picked up the book based on the word "Armenian," hoping to learn more about that group of people. Peter Balakian presents immense details and primary source material in this book. Particularly important is the epilogue, which includes information about Turkey's denial. Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide reminds me of the South's denial of slavery being a factor in the Civil War. Get it together, Turkey and the South! Now I understand why they say Turkey is known for human rights abuses. Balakian does a great job describing the impact of the Armenian plight on the American people. He includes information from relief efforts, missionaries, generals, and the government, but what he doesn't particularly do is explain how the genocide impacted world events. For example, the Armenian Genocide of 1915 takes place during WWI. I don't think Balakian mentioned WWI at all, except in passing. After reading this book, I am particularly interested in how WWI affected the Genocide or how the Genocide affected WWI. Maybe I just passed over it and don't remember the explanation, but Balakian doesn't really contextualize it, as far as I remember. In our American history classes, we focused more on WWII, so I don't remember much about WWI. Balakian does a better job of contextualizing how the Genocide would affect future events, especially comparing it to the Holocaust, but it's almost as if the genocide was this thing going on in the background that everyone in Europe was trying a blind eye to even though the media reported the events. I understand that the book was specifically about the American response to the Armenian Genocide, but I wish there was more worldwide historical and cultural context. This book shows me that I clearly don't know the history of the Middle East, and I don't know anything about the history of Islam, even though I know Christianity and Islam frequently clashed. Balakian does provide maps, but I often felt like I had no idea what I was looking at, especially since I'm not well-versed in early twentieth century history. This may be more of the fault of the reader rather than the author. I may be asking him to write a completely different book that he had no intention of writing. I'm left with the questions of how did the Armenians come into existence, and how did they become a part of the Ottoman empire? I mean, heck, where did the Turks come from if that region was historically Armenian? I suppose I should read another book about the Armenians. Balakian is very repetitive. He uses the same quotes multiple times, particularly from Pat Harrison and Talaat and repeats many facts that he had said just a couple of pages before. I don't remember the first half being very repetitive, but the second half is the worst offender. It's almost as if the book was so big that the copyeditor started slacking and letting things slide. The book is an eye opener, and I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the Armenian Genocide and to people who are interested in government corruption and political muscle. If they are like me, they'll ask, "What the heck is Armenian?" Balakian presents a topic that is never taught in American schools but is something that should be included in history lessons.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Author often lapses into a rather boring seriatim rehearsal of events surrounding Ottoman efforts to eliminate an Armenian presence in Anatolia. I found it useful in establishing some explanation for why America's interest in and knowledge of these events (particularly those of the 1890s, 1909, and 1915) has declined to almost nil after times of almost fever-pitch attention to and concern for "the starving Armenians", to wit: (1) isolationist Republican sentiment about US's post WWI global respo Author often lapses into a rather boring seriatim rehearsal of events surrounding Ottoman efforts to eliminate an Armenian presence in Anatolia. I found it useful in establishing some explanation for why America's interest in and knowledge of these events (particularly those of the 1890s, 1909, and 1915) has declined to almost nil after times of almost fever-pitch attention to and concern for "the starving Armenians", to wit: (1) isolationist Republican sentiment about US's post WWI global responsibilities; (2) economic potential of petroleum reserves in the former Ottoman Empire; (3) vast real estate holding of American Protestant missionaries in Anatolia; (4) The "Red Scare" and the "Cold War" reaction to (a) what the Bolshevik revolution had done to Russia's economic structures; (b) Turkey as an ally against the Soviet Union on whose southern boarder it lay; (c) the resultant state of Armenia falling behind the Iron Curtain. (5) Granting legitimacy to Turkey's claim for self-determination--Turkey for the Turks!--oblivious to the Turks' lack of a traditional/historical claim to a "homeland" in Anatolia that trumped claims of much longer standing by the Armenians (and, for that matter, the Greeks and Kurds).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    Imagine my surprise when I discovered America's response to the Armenian Genocide was outrage, anger, and what became the first nationwide humanitarian relief effort. American newspapers provided almost daily coverage of the atrocities; Armenian friendship societies sprang up all over the country, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars; it was a key platform in political campaigns; and it was the first international effort by the American Red Cross. It's easy to be cynical about American policy Imagine my surprise when I discovered America's response to the Armenian Genocide was outrage, anger, and what became the first nationwide humanitarian relief effort. American newspapers provided almost daily coverage of the atrocities; Armenian friendship societies sprang up all over the country, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars; it was a key platform in political campaigns; and it was the first international effort by the American Red Cross. It's easy to be cynical about American policy abroad, especially in the last few decades. This book is a reminder that America's foreign policy was not always controlled by our business interests; that, once we mobilized as a nation to stop violence and holocaust because to not act was unthinkable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Gripping book on the Armenian Massacres of the 1890s and the Genocide during WWI. Depressing. Disgusting that Turkey still cannot own up to its guilt for its atrocities. Americans played a great role in providing aid to Armenians during that time, something that was soon forgotten in America. Diplomats stationed in Turkey played a courageous role; some of the most detailed chronicles of Turkish brutality are the result of consular documents. The accounts are so hideous that one has to read it wi Gripping book on the Armenian Massacres of the 1890s and the Genocide during WWI. Depressing. Disgusting that Turkey still cannot own up to its guilt for its atrocities. Americans played a great role in providing aid to Armenians during that time, something that was soon forgotten in America. Diplomats stationed in Turkey played a courageous role; some of the most detailed chronicles of Turkish brutality are the result of consular documents. The accounts are so hideous that one has to read it with some detachment. But this is an important read; it is an event that we need to know about, and make sure that it never happens again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Karagianis

    As an Armenian, I found this a tough read emotionally but sadly, a necessary evil. Balakian is an excellent writer albeit long winded at times and intense on facts. I think for anyone who doubts the realty of genocide, particularly the Armenian genocide, read this book. Take your time with it as it is not an easy read to digest nor would I classify it as a beach read by any means. Ignore the Turk supporters who believe the genocide never occurred. They are the same morons who believe the holocau As an Armenian, I found this a tough read emotionally but sadly, a necessary evil. Balakian is an excellent writer albeit long winded at times and intense on facts. I think for anyone who doubts the realty of genocide, particularly the Armenian genocide, read this book. Take your time with it as it is not an easy read to digest nor would I classify it as a beach read by any means. Ignore the Turk supporters who believe the genocide never occurred. They are the same morons who believe the holocaust was made up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tim and Popie Stafford

    comprehensive history of the Armenian genocide and American response. Writing is tedious but I am glad to know so much more about such events, the precursor of the Jewish holocaust but arguably more personal and cruel. The stories of mass rape, massacres by bludgeoning and crucifixion, are as horrifying as can be. It was a huge world event in its time (in America particularly) but thanks to Turkish denial and American government timidity (can't lose oil contracts! can't lose military bases!) has comprehensive history of the Armenian genocide and American response. Writing is tedious but I am glad to know so much more about such events, the precursor of the Jewish holocaust but arguably more personal and cruel. The stories of mass rape, massacres by bludgeoning and crucifixion, are as horrifying as can be. It was a huge world event in its time (in America particularly) but thanks to Turkish denial and American government timidity (can't lose oil contracts! can't lose military bases!) has been put largely down the memory hole.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emlikescake

    Like most books about atrocity, this is fascinating in a horrible, terrible way. Eye-opening, excellent read for anyone wishing to acquaint themselves with the Armenian Genocide. Talks about both the 1890s and 1915, easily accessible even for those without an in-depth knowledge of the region's history. Interesting angle with the American influence.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    One of the best books I've come across on the Armenian genocide.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    An often overlooked and unacknowledged tragedy in our not-so-distant past.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    Re-reading again. Full of accurate information and good scholarly research to tell the story of what happened the Armenians and how America handled it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    An informative book about the first genocide of the 20th century. In what could be considered a foreshadowing of the Holocaust, the Turkish government orchestrated the massacre and deportation deaths (i.e. deaths to abuse and starvation) of between one million and two million children, women and men. Using German built railroads and rolling stock (such as cattle cars) with German military observers in government offices the Turkish government sought to make Turkey a homogeneous country in which An informative book about the first genocide of the 20th century. In what could be considered a foreshadowing of the Holocaust, the Turkish government orchestrated the massacre and deportation deaths (i.e. deaths to abuse and starvation) of between one million and two million children, women and men. Using German built railroads and rolling stock (such as cattle cars) with German military observers in government offices the Turkish government sought to make Turkey a homogeneous country in which only ethnic Turks lived. During the genocides (late 1800s and early 1900s) and thereafter the Turkish government has sought to deny it occurred. In the epilogue Judith Herman's book on criminal behavior (Trauma and Recovery) is quoted. She notes that criminal behavior "is always defined by the perpetrator's compulsion to 'promote forgetting'. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense. If that fails 'the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim.' And if he cannot silence his victim 'he tries to make sure that no one listens' either by blatantly denying or rationalizing his crime." That is one takeaway from this work that people should remember in the current political climate.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    It’s always difficult to read about crimes against humanity. When will it stop? I fear the answer is “never”. History is replete with them, and far from learning in order to not repeat mistakes, it seems that mankind is honing its skills in this. And getting away with it when nations find it expedient to look away.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Important topic, obviously well researched. As someone with no knowledge of the topic and minimal knowledge of the historical period, I would have gotten more out of it if it were part of a class or lecture series. I feel like I needed more context.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Medders

    During the final days of the Ottoman Empire, starting with massacres of the 1890's and continuing through the closing days of World War I, Turkish leaders perpetrated a genocide upon the Armenien people across the Anatolia highlands resulting in hundreds of thousands dying in mass executions, death marches, and exterminations - the first genocide of the 20th century and the pattern followed by Nazi Germany. The strategic position of Turkey eventually resulted in the United States trading militar During the final days of the Ottoman Empire, starting with massacres of the 1890's and continuing through the closing days of World War I, Turkish leaders perpetrated a genocide upon the Armenien people across the Anatolia highlands resulting in hundreds of thousands dying in mass executions, death marches, and exterminations - the first genocide of the 20th century and the pattern followed by Nazi Germany. The strategic position of Turkey eventually resulted in the United States trading military base access for silence on their war crimes, a blind eye that continues to this day. This is a heart-rending account of another sad chapter in modern history.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    This is such a well-written and informative book, covering a period in history which many have barely heard of, if at all. Certainly I hadn't realised the vastness of the genocide: starting with massacres in the 1890s, the whole Turkish brutality continued until the 1920s, killing some 1.5 million Armenians. As the government moved away from an unstable sultan, and into the hands of the Young Turks, with their aim of creating a pure Turkish nation, we see the first 'ethnic cleansing'. Horrific ki This is such a well-written and informative book, covering a period in history which many have barely heard of, if at all. Certainly I hadn't realised the vastness of the genocide: starting with massacres in the 1890s, the whole Turkish brutality continued until the 1920s, killing some 1.5 million Armenians. As the government moved away from an unstable sultan, and into the hands of the Young Turks, with their aim of creating a pure Turkish nation, we see the first 'ethnic cleansing'. Horrific killings, rapes and torture, alongside starvation and disease - interestingly witnessed (and largely condoned) by the German allies of Turkey in WWI - these would surely be the precursor to the later Jewish Holocaust. Many remaining Armenians were taken out in filthy railway cars and left to die in the Syrian desert... The author doesn't just focus on events in Turkey, however, but simultaneously considers the American response to these events. The huge response to the 1890s atrocities "commenced what I believe can be called the modern era of American international human rights relief". Led by missionaries, the Red Cross and money-raising efforts, this was succeeded by another massive effort in 1915 - this time more government led. Yet Balakian winds up by considering why it is that this horrific period in history has become largely forgotten - indeed denied by the Turkish perpetrators. Throughout the book he provides massive evidence for the genocide: not just from Armenian witnesses but politicians, missionaries, travellers who saw it - even Turks themselves, in secret letters of the time where government ordered the extermination of the race, or at the (spectacularly unsuccessful) post War trials. He looks at the importance of remaining on good terms with Turkey because of its position: near Russia and the Middle East, and how its threats whenever USA was about to acknowledge the genocide still cause it to back down. He even provides evidence that Turkey has paid professors in top American universities to help it 'sanitize its past.' An important and very readable work with a large bibliography and some b/w photos

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Connolly

    Under Ottoman rule, the Armenians were treated as second-class citizens, dhimmis, because they were not Muslims. The Armenians were required to house the nomadic Kurds, who were Muslims, in their homes during the cold, winter months. Because they were dhimmis, the Armenians were not allowed to own weapons. Although the Armenian Genocide was planned at the highest levels of government, the ethnic rivalries of the common people was also a cause. The Armenians were envied by many less prosperous pe Under Ottoman rule, the Armenians were treated as second-class citizens, dhimmis, because they were not Muslims. The Armenians were required to house the nomadic Kurds, who were Muslims, in their homes during the cold, winter months. Because they were dhimmis, the Armenians were not allowed to own weapons. Although the Armenian Genocide was planned at the highest levels of government, the ethnic rivalries of the common people was also a cause. The Armenians were envied by many less prosperous people in Turkey, such as the Turkish peasants and the Kurds. Greed and envy motivated the looting of the homes of the Armenians. Also, religion played a role, withe the Turks being Muslim, and the Armenians Christian. Like the Jews, the Armenians were a stateless people, which made them vulnerable. To its credit, the United States refused to sign the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, because it denied the Armenians a homeland. There were many right-wing American politicians who wanted us to sign the treaty, but they were restrained by popular sentiment in favor of the Armenians, who were Christians. Thr American people were well informed of the genocide, as it was happening, due to numerous reports from American Christian missionaries and U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgentheau, Sr. But the European powers signed the Treaty of Laussane, because they wanted access to the oil fields of the former Ottoman Empire. This Lausanne Treaty replaced the earlier Treaty of Sevres, which had promised the Armenians a free and independent Armenian State. The current nation of Armenia includes only the part of Armenia in the former Soviet Union, and not the part of traditional Armenia that lies in eastern Anatolia, which is still ruled by Turkey.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    This is certainly not a book that I would have thought to read. I recently viewed a movie titled, ARARAT. Prior to viewing this movie, I wasn't at all familiar with the crimes against humanity by the Turks and how they have not come to terms with claiming responsibility for this massacre of the Armenians. THE BURNING TIGRIS is a non fiction book that tells about the massacres, about how our government tried to help, then lost interest when it didn't serve the US politically, even to the present. This is certainly not a book that I would have thought to read. I recently viewed a movie titled, ARARAT. Prior to viewing this movie, I wasn't at all familiar with the crimes against humanity by the Turks and how they have not come to terms with claiming responsibility for this massacre of the Armenians. THE BURNING TIGRIS is a non fiction book that tells about the massacres, about how our government tried to help, then lost interest when it didn't serve the US politically, even to the present. If you care about the suffering of people, this book is a necessary read. I doubt that I am the only one who really didn't know much about these events in Turkish history. By the way, I chose to read this book. I wasn't reading it for a class. I read it to be historically informed. Also, I might add, the former President of Iran denied the Holocaust, the Turks seem to be doing the same thing with their own history. Really wish I had read this book when visiting Turkey. It might have provoked some interesting conversations.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Very thoroughly researched, with many references and author's notes. Convincing scholarship of a hideous movement to annihilate an entire ethnic group - the Armenians. This genocide served as the catalyst for the invention of that word, and the methods used by the Turks (the Ottoman Sultan, followed by the Young Turks) were taken to Germany by German officers who shared it with the Nazis - who then used these techniques as the foundation for answering the "Jewish question." Very powerful. The sec Very thoroughly researched, with many references and author's notes. Convincing scholarship of a hideous movement to annihilate an entire ethnic group - the Armenians. This genocide served as the catalyst for the invention of that word, and the methods used by the Turks (the Ottoman Sultan, followed by the Young Turks) were taken to Germany by German officers who shared it with the Nazis - who then used these techniques as the foundation for answering the "Jewish question." Very powerful. The secondary conclusions are that the US, while having many supporters among the American people, turned our backs on them because of the importance of maintaining favorable relations with Turkey for military reasons (against Cold War Russia) and for economic reasons (petroleum discoveries in the Middle East - among Muslim nations). Capitalism conquers morality in our American leadership.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Megan Blood

    3.5 stars. I loved the chapters about what was happening in Armenia. Was generally bored by the chapters about what Americans were doing for Armenia. His conclusion seems to be that we (the American government) should have done something impressive to help. But he doesn't say what. Permanently station soldiers in Armenia? Declare war on the Turks? Those are very noble things, but it comes down to American lives being put on the line for a cause that in no way benefits the American people. Maybe 3.5 stars. I loved the chapters about what was happening in Armenia. Was generally bored by the chapters about what Americans were doing for Armenia. His conclusion seems to be that we (the American government) should have done something impressive to help. But he doesn't say what. Permanently station soldiers in Armenia? Declare war on the Turks? Those are very noble things, but it comes down to American lives being put on the line for a cause that in no way benefits the American people. Maybe if we had been a superpower at that point it would have been different. But we're talking pre & mid-WWI. Basically, I think the politics of the situation were much more nuanced and intelligent than he gives them credit for. But the Armenian part is awesome (and by that I mean horrid).

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