From question to massacre to genocide, the story of the Armenians from the dying days of the ottoman empire and the early years of modern Turkey is one of shocking and tragic modernity - the first genocide of a century of genocides.
From Question to Massacre to Genocide, the story of the Armenians from the dying days of the Ottoman Empire and the early years of modern Turkey is one of shocking and tragic modernity - the first genocide of a century of genocides. Over a million Armenians were viciously slaughtered, starved or marched to death - men, women, the elderly, children and babies - in a systematic, state-sponsored onslaught on an ancient minority. And Turkey today still denies that this genocide took place. Peter Balakian reveals the three stages of persecution of the Armenian people, from the relatively small-scale massacres under the last Sultan, Abdul Hamid II, to the ethnic cleansing undertaken by the forces of the Committee of Union and Progress under the cover of the First World War. Balakian makes use of the eye-witness accounts of US diplomats and missionaries and the terrible testimony of the persecutors themselves during the short-lived trials of the 1920s. He exposes the failures of the great powers to respond effectively - just as they failed to halt later genocides. And he shows how the issue of oil changed the focus of US foreign policy in the 1920s so that the fate of the Armenians was forgotten and the lesson of the genocide ignored. Compelling and authoritative, this groundbreaking book restores the Armenian tragedy to its rightful place in history.
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Peter Balakian is Professor of the Humanities at Colgate University. He is the author of Black Dog of Fate, which won the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Award. He lives in Hamilton, New York.
The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian
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