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The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response Paperback – October 5, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Now faded from memory in the shadow of the Holocaust, the Turkish slaughter of more than a million Armenians in 1915-1916 was a virtual template for the 20th-century horrors that followed, and much of what Balakian describes so powerfully is now chillingly familiar: inhuman brutality; mass deportations of helpless civilians (often in overcrowded railroad boxcars); headlines screaming of "systematic race extermination"; activists and intellectuals calling for intervention; and, most devastatingly, the lack of political will in the West to intervene to stop the slaughter. Balakian exposes the roots of the genocide in the "total war" atmosphere of WWI, which combusted with the pan-Turkish nationalism of the Young Turk government, inflamed Muslim rage against "infidel" Armenian Christians, and a long-simmering Ottoman hatred of the Armenians dating to Sultan Abdul Hamid II and his slaughters in the 1890s. Balakian, who wrote so movingly of the impact of the genocide on his own family in Black Dog of Fate, also underscores how well known the Armenian destruction was in America through detailed reports by U.S. consuls throughout Turkey and steady newspaper reporting, and how great the response was in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and survivors. In a horrifying account, city by city, region by region, Balakian quotes firsthand testimony about the decimation of the Armenian population and their towns and culture. Yet he retains the measured tone of a historian throughout; if anything, he lets Woodrow Wilson off too easily for not declaring war on Turkey. But readers will come away sadly convinced that Armenians' brave but doomed stand in Van should be as celebrated as the Warsaw ghetto uprising, and the corpse-strewn Lake Gaeljak as well known as Babi Yar. 16 pages of b&w photos and maps not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Culminating in the organized murder of more than one million Armenians in 1915, the Armenian genocide was both a systematized continuation of violence begun in the nineteenth century and a chilling premonition of larger and more systematic European genocide to come. A detailed account of the "hidden holocaust" sewn together from archival research and the testimony of survivors, this selection also documents another tragedy: America's response to the crisis. In the 1890s, led by William Jennings Bryan and Theodore Roosevelt, among notable others, American Protestants felt a sympathy for the plight of their fellow Christians that was both heartfelt and fashionable. It was, argues Balakian, an inaugural moment for the American defense of international human rights. Yet political concerns kept Woodrow Wilson from declaring war on Turkey, and by the late twentieth century, moral clarity sadly erodes in the face of cold war necessity and oil-driven foreign policy. Even today, Turkey denies that a genocide ever took place. In this important book, Balakian proves adept at presenting both human horror and political tragedy. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060558709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060558703
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First I like to say this is most important work on the genocidal ethnic cleansing of Ermeni people from Anatolia. I am Turk and I am from the area where the Ermeni were killed that is mentioned in the book, Hazar Golu. Around this lake are buried thousands upon thousands of Ermeni. Everybody who lives around here knows this is truth! They know Ermenians were killed like sheep not fighting! In my family village Ermeni lived peacefully, strangers came and murdered all of them! No deportation, no relocation. My grandfather tells me this. Only people who lie about this are kemalists who profit from illegal government of Turkiye. The kemalists who deny Ermenian Jenocide in reviewing this book are the grandchildren of those who killed the Ermenians. It is their interest to lie. Turkish government is built upon the bones of the Ermenians, Greeks, Suriyani, Zaza, and Kurds. Who does jenocide and admits to it? Nobody! Germans did not say even when they were killing Jews! It was "relocation" just like what the kemalist government of Turkiye says today. There two types of people in Turkiye today: kemalists and the good people of Turkiye. I hope this book will be translated to Turkish. This book tells the truth about everything Turkish government did and does to the Ermenian people. The most important chapter is on Turkish work to lie today about what happened. Many Ermenian village and homes are empty even today. I hope when the kemalist government and their agents leave power forever, the Ermenian people come back to their properties and villages and live happy lives. This book could be a stepping stone to a confederation of Anatolian peoples.
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By A Customer on January 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book to those individuals who want to find the truth to our world history. After reading the reviews of others, it is clear to me that some individuals find this book disturbing because this is probably the first time in which they have been told that the young turks killed more than 1 million armenians. Some individuals attempt to discredit this book saying that Balakian is a poet not a historian. However, all of Balakians sources have been taken from historians, american politicians, survivors and from the young turks. The Turkish Government must come forward and recognize the terror they spread through the Ottoman Empire in the early part of the 20th century.
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Format: Hardcover
It does not in any way diminish the sheer horror of the holocaust against the Jews to say that the Turks did exactly the same to the Armenians only a few decades before - and with far less international condemnation. The Armenian massacres were the first genocide, holocaust, ethnic cleansing, call it what you will - and it is great that the truth about these barbaric events are now coming to the fore. Buy this book, give it to your friends and get involved in telling people about the hidden massacre of the 20th century. Christopher Catherwood, author of CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS AND ISLAMIC RAGE (Zondervan, 2003)
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By A Customer on November 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a book collector on Near Eastern history, the way you can tell a book is well researched and written is by the referencing and the bibliography contained in the book.I must say that this book has an amazing bibliography which includes books written mainly by non-Armenians and were printed before, during and directly after the events which occurred. On the other hand almost every book which is printed to deny the Armenian Genocide uses only recently published books which were published by other denialists.
In 1985, the UN Committee on Human Rights published a report declaring the Ottoman Empire responsible for the massacres of the Armenians in 1915 and 1916. Two years later, the Council of Europe agreed that Turkey's refusal to recognise the genocide was an insurmountable obstacle to Turkey's admission to the EU. By the end of 2000, the European Parliament, France, Sweden, the Vatican and Italy finally acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Of the major powers, only the US, Canada and Britain still hold back. There are too many conflicting interests at stake. Turkey, for instance, threatened to deny the US use of its air bases if President Clinton agreed formally to accept the massacres as a genocide.
Turkey has offered funding for academic programmes in the universities of Princeton and Georgetown. Three years ago, UCLA's history department voted to reject a $1m offer to endow a programme in Turkish and Ottoman studies because it was conditional on their denying the Armenian genocide. Professor Colin Tatz, director for the Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia, claims that Turkey has used "a mix of academic sophistication and diplomatic thuggery . . . to put both memory and history into reverse gear".
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By A Customer on October 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
and it made me proud to learn of America's first international human rights endeavor and the many acts of altruism carried out by State Department officials as well as by grassroots Americana -- from Sunday schoolers to Clara Barton and more --to save Armenian lives during the tragedy of the horrific Armenian Genocide. From the opening sentence one can see Balakian writes with a poet's eye but his heart and soul belong to historical witness and testimony. This scrupulously researched and detailed account will not disappoint and will keep readers turning pages. Finally a clear concise eloquent historical narrative of the 20th century's first genocide.
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