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Not Even My Name: A True Story Paperback – June 2, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The harrowing story of the slaughter of two million Pontic Greeks and Armenians in Turkey after WWI comes to vivid life in Sano Halo's memoir, as told by her daughter Thea. The story begins with the two women's journey to Turkey in search of Sano's native village in the Pontic Mountains, a remote region south of the Black Sea that had been settled by Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. In 1920, at the age of 10, Sano was the oldest of five children. She adored her beautiful mother and was favored by her grandfather, a blacksmith who was revered in their community. She felt secure in the closeness of her family, the beauty of farm life, the rituals of church and school. Ominous rumors of the persecution of Greeks by the Turkish military became a nightmarish reality when her father was conscripted. He escaped, but several months later everyone in her village was forced to leave their homes with scarcely a day's notice. The "emigration" was a death march, in which three of Sano's sisters perished. Not able to provide food for the family, Sano's parents left her with a surrogate family who treated her harshly. At the age of 15, Sano was sold into marriage to an Assyrian, three times her age, who had returned from America to find a wife. Despite the early tragedies of her young life, Sano's courage and determination to survive prevailed as she and her husband successfully raised 10 children. Her daughter has written an eloquent and powerful account of this tragic chapter of Turkish history. Photos and map not seen by PW.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Armenian genocide in Turkey during World War I is widely known. Almost unknown, however, is the annihilation of the Pontic Greeks, who had lived for 3000 years in the Pontic Mountains near the Black Sea, by Kemal Ataturk's military forces after the war. In 1921, one survivor, ten-year-old Sano Halo (the author's mother), was forced with her entire village on a nearly year-long death march to Syria. Separated from her family, she lost even her name when she was sold by her surrogate family to a man three times her age, whom she married; later, they emigrated to New York City and raised ten children. Sano's is truly an amazing story of survival and resilience (she will soon be 90 years old). Even more remarkable is the lack of rancor, which so often permeates survivors' memoirs. Indeed, in describing the Turks who helped the author and her mother in their 1989 quest to find Sano's childhood village, there is only amazement at the hospitality and support they receive. An important and revealing book; highly recommended for all libraries.
-Ruth K. Baacke, Whatcom Community Coll., Bellingham, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (June 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312277016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312277017
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Gandalf on June 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Not Even My Name" is an extraordinarily powerful book that forced me to understand the Pontic, Assyrian, and Armenian genocides it describes in individual, human terms. After all, it's much easier to distance oneself from a holocaust than from the individuals who are its victims. In addition, the book has provided me with an important analog to the history of my own family, Greek Jews, many of whom suffered their own holocaust.
I intend to read this book with one of my classes, not only because it is a fine piece of literature, but also because it will remind us in a very compelling way how foolish it is to try to prove that one holocaust was bigger or more important than another. We all suffer from the "It's my dead rat" syndrome, a foolishness this book exposes fearlessly.
Equally important, the structure of the book, framed by a double odyssey and complex exodus, provides the experiences of the author, Thea Halo, and her mother, Sano, nee Themia, with just the right context to make the journey very worthwhile for the reader as well as for its two main characters. Halo's descriptions are beautifully drawn, and her inferences are understated, which is what makes them so powerful. This is a universal story "writ large" and passionately. It took me almost no time to see that it is also my story, placed in a different context, but one that I could recognize easily, in small ways as well as large. How fascinating, for instance, to discover that the Pontic Christians celebrated Easter with egg-breaking contests almost identical to the Greek-Jewish tradition during the Passover Seders.
The book is extremely well written and incredibly moving.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ray Grist on August 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Following the First World War, the government of Turkey, under the leadership of Gamel Ataturk, established a campaign of, which we in our modern usage call, ethnic cleansing. The goal of this government was "Turkey for the Turks." They set out to rid Turkey of non-Turkish ethnic groups which included the Armenians, Greeks (which included the Pontians, Ionians, and Kappadokians), and Assyrians. This campaign succeeded in eliminating, by means of death marches, massacre, murder -- genocide -- 1.5 million Armenians, 750,000 Assyrians, 360,000 Pontian Greeks. Many more survivors of this genocide went into exile in Syria, Russia, and some in the United States.Changing time and place, Thea Halo successfully tells the story of one individual who lived through and survived the uprooting of her family and people who were forced on a death march from their homes in the north of the country, eventually into Syria. This survivor, through a series of serendipitous events, wound up in New York City, finally safe from the persecutions of the Turkish leadership. She gave birth to 10 children, one of whom is the author of "Not Even My Name."Ms. Halo has accomplished one of the great values of life. She has honored her ancestors and kept their spirits and history alive. She has honored her mother Sano (Themia) even during her lifetime. Thea's mother, never forgot her family and her life in their Turkish home. Very quietly she would say their names over and over to herself. These memories are her treasure. Sano can have peace and pride that her story, and the stories of her people, have been added to the volumes of our human history.Read more ›
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Anastasios Sarikas on July 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a book of survival, tragedy and triumph. It is the story of one young girl's survival of one of the most brutal episodes in 20th century history - the ethnic cleansing committed by the Turkish authorities during and after World War 1 which claimed the lives of about two million citizens of the Ottoman Empire because they were of Greek,Armenian or Assyrian stock.
Yet, this book neither condemns, nor judges, nor impugns the Turkish people. Quite the contrary, the book is utterly devoid of bitterness. These awful things happened and they are not a judgment upon the Turkish people of today. Those times were those times:difficult and tragic for all.They were also tragic for the Turkish people who, as a result of these benighted policies, lost millions of its citizens - Greek, Armenian and Assyrian - who could and would have helped shape the future of Turkey in a more positive,productive manner. Instead, Turkey remained plunged in an isolated backwardness and darkness that it is just beginning to shed with difficulty.
As an aside, I find it troubling that...[some]...point to the bias of the author and mention "other" books that "correctly" paint the picture of that terrible time without actually citing one, single, solitary title. Well, here are two titles from two Americans who witnessed these "fictional genocides" first hand:
1) Henry Morgenthau's.."Ambassador Morgenthau Remembers"; and 2) American Consul George Horton's...."The Blight of Asia"(Don't forget my Turkish brothers......these are the writings of Americans - your loyal friends ).
To me, it seems high time that the Turkish people face the truth about their past as they move forward into a bright, open, progressive, just, honorable and peaceful future. If Germany can face the past directly and can Turkey. It is the young people of Turkey - the hope of Turkey's future - who should read this book.
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