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Turkey: A Modern History Paperback – August 12, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1860649585 ISBN-10: 1860649580 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris; 3rd edition (August 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860649580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860649585
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Zurcher's book will make an excellent textbook for students approaching the study of Turkey for the first time, in addition to serving as a valuable aid to scholars looking for a comprehensive, well-written fusion of differing interpretations of Turkish history...This book is destined to remain a standard text in its field."--Lawrence Tel, International Affairs

"...a valuable addition to scholarly literature."--Andrew Mango, TLS

About the Author

Erik J. Zürcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the probably the best history of Turkey in the modern period now available in English. Zurcher makes the point that his is a MODERN history of Turkey, rather than just a history of modern Turkey. The distinction is important, as he utilizes a wealth of recent resarch to flesh out the fairly one-dimensional and celebratory approach of many earlier Western writers dealing with Turkey, such as Bernard Lewis. Zurcher deals objectively with topics, such as social and ethnic problems, that are often neglected by some other writers.
The book emphatically does not display anti-Turkish bias, as suggested by Mr. Pipes in his review below; the Armenian genocide may indeed be an "incendiary" topic in Turkey, but its reality is accepted by serious historians throughout the world, and to conclude that it was ordered by the government in power at the time is hardly controversial except among Turkish-nationalist circles and those who seek to curry favor with them.
All in all, an excellent account, by a master of the field.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book can definitely be recommended to students and general readers finding their way into the often controversial history of modern Turkey. It is well-balanced and clearly written, picking a sensible path between the distorted versions of Turkish history offered by those academics with too strong a pro-Turkish or anti-Turkish bias. Turkey's present-day authorities will almost certainly object to the book's conclusions about how best to tackle the long-standing Kurdish problem (Zurcher proposes guarantees for Kurdish culture and the Kurdish language, and some form of autonomy for the south-east). But the passages on the Kurds do not dominate the book, which is concerned mostly with tracing Turkey's turbulent road to modernity.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Winter Wright on November 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I knew absolutely nothing about Turkey when I picked up this book, which I bought in preparation for a trip to Turkey next month. I found that the author, unlike some academics, writes limpid, readable prose. He does dwell in considerable detail on the political jousting that takes place inside the government; it seems that there have always been competing factions within the power structure in Turkey, and they appear at times to have changed position from week to week. I therefore found myself skimming through parts of this book. I wish he'd focused a bit more on cultural history, as this was the bit I found most interesting. Still, all in all, a good read for what is essentially a textbook. I've started "Turkey Unveiled" by Hugh and Nicole Pope, two journalists who are clearly aiming for a more popular treatment of the subject matter, and I can tell that my having read Professor Zurcher's book will make their book much more interesting.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have been studying this book throughly in college and also using it for writing essays. It is a great review of the Turkish History from a very objective point of view. It gives just enough information to get an idea of the political history of Turkey, but it may as well a bit too detailed for those who are not interested in political science. Zurcher's book focuses on more political issues than cultural issues; it tells about the political leaders and their policies but it is not a biography on any of the leaders of modern Turkey. The book does not at all talk about gender issues or private lives of the leaders but has a clear understanding of good and bad effects they had on the making of modern Turkey. To those who are interested in the life of Ataturk, I would reccomend Lord Kinross's book "Ataturk" which is available at Amazon. In general Zurcher's book is a great source for students and anyone who is interested in politics and history.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
As I'm a Turkish student I have always read subjective history which were written by Turk authors.This book looks the events with third eye so I can study Turk near-history objectively and I learn different views of Turk history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book that starts in the declining Ottoman empire of the nineteenth century and follows developments of that time forward to quite recent events in Turkey of today, concentrating on political and economic issues. The author clearly knows his stuff and the information is thoughtfully presented. Because this book covers a lot of ground, it usually doesn't go into a lot of depth on any given set of events. My main criticism is that the author tends to compress his version of events in such a way that important points are often obscured or presented extremely briefly. This makes the book sometimes hard to follow. Nonetheless this is a good overview for anyone interested in Turkey. I came away with a renewed admiration for Ataturk and what he managed to accomplish. I would recommend it to anyone interested in this topic.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alaturka on April 12, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Erik Zurcher has done a service to all who may have an interest in recent history of Turkey, filling a much-needed gap. This is the second revised edition of the original 93 publication. It expands even more on the recent and more modern history in great detail. It is a nice compliment to Bernard Lewis' "Emergence of Modern Turkey". Zurcher has done a lot more than just reposting known history from other traditional sources. There is much new insight and analysis. Most of it is balanced, but he still has failed to refrain from "recommending" a "multi-national" state "solution" to the Kurdish "problem". As if there is any possibility of it, or as if, after all he has researched and explained about modern Turkey, he would not know, better than anyone else that the unitary nature of the state is what has enabled it to exist in the first place. Given all their ethnic mixes, how often does one encounter a successful model of such a "state" in Europe or Eastern Europe or Middle East? Why such an enlightened solution is rarely pushed ahead in other similar situations, is a mystery. Germany still has to this day, purely ethnic based citizenship laws for example. Besides, why is a democracy that guarantees all individual freedoms to all citizens and makes no distinction among them is still found lacking?

Though he occasionally acknowledges the long history of parliamentary and constitutional rule in Turkey, the judicious and brutally honest study of all the blemishes and imperfections of Turkish democracy throughout decades, creates or more like helps propagate the idea that Turks are in general still not comfortable with the concept of democracy, or that they still do not "get" it.
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