Book Reviews

Book Review: The Armenians

Armenians trace their origins back to 2452 B.C enjoyed and continue to enjoy a reputation of hard working, intelligent, life-loving people, who inhabited the better part of south- and north-eastern part today’s Turkey.

During the 15th century, Turkish hordes from central Asia overran the weakened kingdom.

Since, then Armenians had the misfortune of inhabiting lands between the Persian and ottoman Empires, and suffered many setbacks including the first genocide of the 20th century in 1915 when the then minister of the interior Talaat pasha systematically eliminated one-and-a-half million Armenians using Kurdish volunteers and paid soldiers.

Razmik Panossian, Ph.D, covers in this deeply researched book, the history of the nation, how the merchant class was established and spread all over the world, and how successive sultans used Armenian merchants and intellectuals.

After they fulfilled their “assignments”, all were literally dumped, never to be heard of again.

The prose is intelligent, clear, concise, and illuminating, exploring the awakening of a nation, religious dimensions in a Muslim empire, its revolts and destruction.

It also explains how western governments (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the U.S.A.) promised to help Armenian leaders, but never really did anything in times of dire need, except in one case when French ships rescued a few thousand inhabitants of Musa Dag, who managed to resist superior armed forces of the Ottoman Empire for 40 days.

The author elucidates the short-lived Armenian Republic in 1918

Under Soviet protection, and later how the land became a Soviet republic.

Most books about Armenians hardly mention about internecine feuds that happened after the population of the country voted to secede from the Soviet Union in 1999.

These political feuds still continue today, occasionally ending up in violent clashes in the republic’s parliament

The Nagorno Karabagh (Mountainous Karabagh) intentionally annexed to Azerbaijan by Stalin) has been a bone of contention between these two soviet republics even before the U.S.S.R dissolved, and thousands of lives were lost.

This extraordinary book builds a bridge between history, politics, and sociology.

A copy of this book should be on the shelves of each Armenian home in Armenia and Diaspora, which spreads from India to Italy, the United Kingdom, the U.S.A, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Australia and every imaginable country, mostly due to the 1915 Genocide.

Needless to say for every student of history, especially those who want to specialize in Middle Eastern history this book must be required reading.

Highly recommended.

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