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Ataturk: Lessons in Leadership From the Greatest General of the Ottoman Empire (World Generals Series) Hardcover – August 16, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Lively…poignant…Bay's short, crisp, and readable book ably surveys Atatürk's military career.” ―New Criterion

“A timely new biography . . . [a] fascinating book.” ―Clifford May, The National Review

“Bay makes the case that the father of Turkish democracy was also a military genius.” ―MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History

“In a changing world there is always something new to say about the authors of change throughout history. Austin Bay has widened our understanding of Mustafa Kemal, the general who founded and shaped the Turkish Republic, by showing convincingly that the choices made by Atatürk validate and are in turn validated by modern military doctrine. This is one reason for recommending his succinct account of Atatürk's life and achievements. His book justifies Atatürk's inclusion in the series of the world's great military leaders.” ―Andrew Mango, author of Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey

“This book is a clear, concise and fast-paced account of Ataturk's military triumphs and rise to power. It brings him vividly to life and highlights the qualities that allowed him to become the most successful revolutionary of the 20th century.” ―Stephen Kinzer, author of Crescent and Star and Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future

“Military historian, columnist, and veteran Austin Bay in concise fashion explains the inexplicable of how modern Turkey, Phoenix-like, suddenly rose amid the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, with its friends defeated and impotent, its enemies multifold and ascendant--through the extraordinary army career of Kemal Ataturk. Bay's sympathetic military biography is as original as it is now timely, given that Ataturk's singular achievement stands in stark contrast to the current climate of rising Islamist dominance in a once secular Turkey.” ―Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture and The Father of Us All

“This is the first genuine military biography of M. Kemal Ataturk ever written by anybody anywhere, including Turkey. As such, it fills a long neglected void and it is an important work of original scholarship. Colonel Austin Bay lays a solid foundation for helping us understand the military career of this great commander. Well-researched and very readable - it is an essential read for those interested in this era or in the art of command.” ―Edward J. Erickson, Associate Professor, Marine Corps Command & Staff College

“Turkey is very much in the news these days, and soldier, scholar and columnist Austin Bay provides us with a biography of Kemal Ataturk, the brilliant soldier and politician who created modern secular Turkey--and whose achievements are now being challenged. Anyone who wants to know more about Turkey should read this book.” ―Michael Barone, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute, senior political analyst, Washington Examiner, and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics

“Kemal Ataturk is one of the great figures of the twentieth century. Austin Bay's delightfully written history reminds us why that is, and why we will soon keenly miss Ataturk's influence.” ―Glenn Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee, and author of the weblog Instapundit

“Bay's well-written book weaves the military, political, and personal strands of Ataturk's actions into an important story that has much to tell us about leadership. One of the compelling aspects of Bay's approach is that we see the world from Ataturk's point of view so that even a familiar event, like Gallipoli, appears in a new and fascinating way.” ―Betty Sue Flowers, author, editor of The Power of Myth

About the Author

Austin Bay is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and coauthor of A Quick & Dirty Guide to War. He has written extensively on current military affairs, and has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Fox News, C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Nightline. Bay writes a weekly international affairs column for Creators Syndicate, is a contributing editor at StrategyPage.com and appears weekly on PJTV's National Security Review. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. Bay served most recently with Headquarters, Multi-National Corps in Iraq in 2004. He was on active duty during Operation Desert Storm and served in Germany in the 1970s. A graduate of Rice University, he has a PhD from Columbia University. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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Product Details

  • Series: World Generals Series
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230107117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230107113
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Colonel Bay's biography is a short summary of the great Ataturk told from a military point of view. While the book provides much more information than just what Ataturk did on the battlefield, it is the first work that I know of in the English language that reviews Ataturk's life and accomplishments from a mostly military standpoint. It illustrates the development and maturity of Ataturk as an outstanding young military officer from his early days at the military academy to his triumphs at Libya, Gallipoli as well as Anatolia during and after World War I. The book shows how Ataturk learned from each of his experiences and used and applied those lessons to future campaigns. More than that, though, the book shows what is possible when you have a military officer that possesses the singular qualities of intelligence, courage, and foresight, along with a relentless desire to succeed, all in one. The forward by General Wesley Clark is also outstanding and there are maps in the front of the book along with some nice black and white photos of Ataturk taken during critical moments in his colorful military career. If you enjoy military history, middle eastern history, or if you just wonder why Ataturk was so successful in his military career and later on in his transformation of the Turkish Republic, then you will enjoy Colonel Bay's book. I know I did.
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Format: Hardcover
Kemal Ataturk began his career as an Ottoman officer serving the Turkish Sultan. When his life ended he had almost single-handedly created the Turkish Republic and he successfully did what so many visionaries have failed to do: modernize a state stuck in the grip of a theocracy.

There are many books about Ataturk. This one focuses on his military career and how it prepared him for the role of "Father of the Turks." Although well known for his defense at Gallipoli and his exploits during the Turkish War for Independence Mr. Bay argues that his experiences in the Libyan War and the Balkans set the stage for his later exploits. He also looks at aspects of Ataturk's military ability, such as his understanding of the need for "informational supremacy" not commonly addressed in other books. Well worth the read! If I could change anything about this book it would be to make it longer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is, finally, a really good biography of Atatürk written by an American; a soldier, no less. "Atatürk" by Austin Bay focuses more on Atatürk's achievements as a soldier than a statesman, who won the peace after fierce battles. Winning the peace is such an amazing achievement that it is understandable why historians might pay attention especially to that. Even his once-enemy had nominated him for the Nobel peace prize. But Ataturk was first and foremost a military strategist and learning more about his decision making at the battlefields provides a greater illumination into his mind than the idolatry of his good looks.

The book goes into the details of the War of Independence against the Greek invasion. Atatürk first stretched them thin, well into Anatolia, by feinting weakness in the form of a withdrawal, and then striking a sledgehammer blow to a decisive point--where there was 5-to-1 superiority--bringing the enemy into a stupor and ending them with the swoosh of a scythe in the form of consolidated cavalry operations that literally threw off the invaders' dead flesh into the Mediterranean.

Atatürk told his soldiers to think of defense in terms of area, not in lines. Today's Turkey is thinking in terms of points--a few cities people flock to, leaving large swaths of area underdeveloped, or undeveloped. It has a GDP of only twice that of Egypt, and a mere quarter of France's. There is much that needs to be done in Turkey today. Turks must think in terms of volume of productivity to better its economy and avoid horrid vacuums of human passion that ought to be filled by principles of freedom as espoused by Atatürk. These principles, by the way, precisely map one-to-one to those spelled out in the constitution of the United States of America.
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Format: Hardcover
Ataturk: Lessons in Leadership from the Greatest General of the Ottoman Empire" by Austin Bay is a remarkable book about probably one of the least appreciated figures and architects of modern-day Turkey and thus of the Middle East, Kemal Ataturk. While the book details previously unknown (to me) and fascinating details about Ataturk's early military career, the book contains insight after insight about the unique greatness of Ataturk--a moderate and modernizing force in the face of previously insurmountable forces of regional and national decay, conservatism and intransigence. For Ataturk to have prevailed against such foes with the result being a modernizing and secular Turkey, was and is an colossal achievement that continues to manifest in modern day Turkey, one of the most significant powers and influencers of the Middle East. Dr./Col. Bay's style is succinct, eloquent and to the point: his description of Christianity's decoupling from government versus much of the Muslim world's opposite approach in the early chapters is one of the most insightful I have read. This is a signifcant book to be savored."
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