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The Forty Days of Musa Dagh Paperback – December 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 824 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers; Reissue edition (December 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881846686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881846683
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In every sense a true and thrilling novel… It tells a story which it is almost one's duty as an intelligent human being to read. And one's duty here becomes one's pleasure also. --The New York Times Book Review

Forty Days will invade your senses and keep the blood pounding. Once read, it will never be forgotten. --The New York Times

Werfel's book . . . did more than the efforts of any diplomat, journalist, or historian to encourage speech about the unspeakable. It arrives today when Syria and Congo are killing fields as a timely reminder that savagery thrives in silence. --The Barnes and Noble Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: German

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Based on a true story of genocide.
Miriam Kairey
This Hans Werfel novel, written in 1933, is about a band of Armenians, 5000 strong, that defend themselves against persecution by the Turks during WWI.
Shant Madjarian
This book should be required reading for every student.
M. Leo Cooper (thegrendel@theriver.com)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 117 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a professor of English literature I have read thousands of books, short stories and histories. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. It is certainly not as well known as The Great Gatsby or The Grapes of Wrath, and it usually only receives serious study at the university level, but this does not diminish its importance as one of the greatest works of fiction. It is stirring and disturbing, it relentlessly forces the reader to confront visions of the human psyche, of the darkness of evil, and of the power of courage.
How anyone can draw a moral parallel between Werfel's The Forty days of Musa Dagh and Hitler's Mein Kampf (see Holdwater NYC, Sept. 20, 2003, below) is beyond comprehension or scholarship, and tells me that either they did not read the novel, or that they read the novel but did not understand it, or that they understood it but could not stare at it directly because what stared back at them was their own deformed reflection. What Holdwater is engaging in is called sophistry: he wrote twelve horribly written rambling paragraphs and articulated almost nothing.
Having read several books on the Armenian Genocide - most recently The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian - I notice also that Holdwater conveniently left out any mention of Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Viscount Bryce (Morgenthau being the American ambassador to Turkey during World War One, and Bryce being the British Ambassador to the U.S. until 1913) both very erudite deliberate statesmen who wrote extensively in their memoirs regarding the genocide of the Armenians and the dispositions of Taalat and Enver when confronted with the incomprehensible evil of the crimes they were committing.
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106 of 114 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Between 1915 and 1917 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the 20th century's first genocide, and to this day the existing Turkish government still denies any wrong doing!
It is Franz Werfel's merit that he made the world listen to the crying of the Armenian people, which would have been almost forgotten otherwise.
He tells the story of a handful of men being deported to the Syrian desert who - by courage of despair - manage to escape to the mountain Musa Dagh (which means "mountain of Moses") and resisting the flabberghasted superior Turkish soldiers for forty days, until they were discovered and rescued by french war-ships.
When the book was published in 1933 in Germany, Werfel also intended to draw attention to the imminent same fate that the Jews were facing in Germany, but it was in vain. Both, the Nazis and the Turks were outraged, and the book was banned in both countries (in post-war Germany it was published again, of course), but through the English translation it fortunately had become a bestseller already. However: When MGM was planning to make this book a movie, they had to yield to Turkish pressure not doing so! So to this very day there has not been any movie made from this excellent book.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By M. Leo Cooper (thegrendel@theriver.com) on June 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for every student. Werfel writes an excellent in-depth novel about the genocide of the Armenians in World War I.
What is particularly chilling is that Werfel went on a lecture tour about the book in Germany just before Hitler's ascent to power. This did not prevent the German people from participating in the genocide of the Jews. Apparently, people learn nothing from history, even if forewarned.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read this book in my country in Turkey. It is really shamefull what the Ottoman did against to our Armenian friends. I hate again Turkish-Islamic bad synthesis for against to whole other communities.
I got great pain as Turkish by reading this book in my life.
This is a sign if yesterday which is still contunie in the end of 20th century in Turkey.
Sureyya Kara
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Shant Madjarian on October 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This Hans Werfel novel, written in 1933, is about a band of Armenians, 5000 strong, that defend themselves against persecution by the Turks during WWI. Indeed an anomaly, since the Young Turks' plot to innihalate Armenians was executed virtually unchallenged, making the battles of Musa Dagh all the more heroic. While the Armenian Genocide is as much an undeniable fact as the sky is blue, this novel was written as a fiction and was not meant to serve as an historical report. Yes it is about the fate of the Armenian people, but that is only the setting, for it is, at the core, a story about humanity and what becomes of it when forced to the brink of extinction. Unfortunately, this sad fate of the Armenians did not serve to curtail future Genocide, but instead set a world example that it is easier to get away with Genocide then it is to commit a murder. Werfel's ink was not yet dry, when the Nazi's vowed to rid the world of Jews...Werfel was not meant to be spared.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of the resistance of Armenians in Syria to the turkish genocidal campaign during World War I. Particularly chilling is the interview of the german pastor with the turkish dictator, where every logical argument is twisted on its ear. This book gives the reader a thorough understanding of the processes behind a genocide, and tells a story in a gripping fashion. Love, betrayal, heroism; this book has it all.
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