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Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires 1908-1918 Paperback – March 14, 2011
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"Shattering Empires is a pioneering study that brilliantly illuminates the entangled crises of the Ottoman and Russian states. In this timely and well-written book, Reynolds skilfully shows how the confrontation between these two states contributed to the collapse of both empires and to the birth of a new kind of politics in the Middle East and the Caucasus." Robert D. Crews, Stanford University
"Michael Reynolds has written an important and original book. He relates a complex story with remarkable clarity and admirable rigor. His balanced and nuanced account is based on wide research and is a major addition to the literature on Russian and Ottoman history, and to the history of the First World War." Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania
"Michael Reynolds combines a deep understanding of Russia and Turkey to produce an outstanding book that illuminates both historical and contemporary questions." Stephen Rosen, Harvard University
"Shattering Empires is a fine book ... it makes a valuable contribution not only to the history of Russian-Ottoman relations but also to our understanding of the intersection of nationalism and geopolitics in the age of imperial downfall." -Times Literary Supplement
"This fine, provocative book asks important questions: about the alleged anachronistic nature of empires; about nationalism as a driving force to explain the modern historical narrative; about the quest for security and its costs and consequences. It deserves a wide and serious reading.". -Journal of Military History
"This very well-written study is an invaluable addition to literature on WWI, borderland studies, and analyses of the Armenian question. Highly recommended." -Choice
"...original, fresh, and insightful..." -Paul W. Werth, The Journal of Modern History
Top Customer Reviews
One will gain a lot of insight into the relations between Azeri, Iranian, Armenian, Assyrian, and all the other ethnic and religious groups that were heavily intermixed in that region of the world. Because of the war it was a region that became less intermixed. It is also a subject that has received very littler coverage in English. It also helps educate one on why that part of the world is the way it is today.
The military section during the war is of interest to me as there is little between when the Imperial Russian armies were advancing in 1916 towards the Anatolian Plain and the Russian Revolution and its impact in 1918-19. This book is helpful in that, but its main focus is on the political events and less so the military events.
It has a very balanced and accurate account of the Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Azeri and other ethnic and religious groups that suffered or succeeded in the conflict between the largely Sunni Turk and Orthodox Russian Empires. It should be commended for that. A telling line in discussing the fate of the Armenians and Assyrians is, ". . . the effective eradication of the presence in Anatolia of two peoples who had been rooted there for millennia.Read more ›
Reynolds acknowledges the Ottoman performance against the entente powers was disastrous save for Gallipoli, and even that was not a resounding successful campaign, and the Russians until 1917 had dominated the Ottomans, but there was a resiliency about the Turks that allowed them to snatch conquest from the jaws of defeat only to suffer through being on the losing side. The Ottomans and Germans negotiated the complex treaty of Brest-Litovsk but when negotiations broke down, military activities resumed to further beat the Russians into submission. The Ottomans, being a regional instead of an international power, focused efforts on the Caucasus, only to find their so-called allies, the Germans, attempting to thwart Ottoman ambitions, even to the point of cooperating with the defeated Bolshviks.Read more ›
This book gives a brief history of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877, but that is not the time frame of this book. Rather, Shattering Empires focuses on approximately 1900-1918. Especially the build-up to World War I and the aftermath of the conflict. As the title suggests: it is the imminent break-up of the Ottoman Empire and the revolution of Imperial Russia.
Some things that stood out to me while reading this book:
* How the European concept of the state, especially when coupled with the idea of ethnic identity, led to mass deportations of entire populations. This was also covered in Peter King's book The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus. However I don't feel that Mr. King did anywhere near the quality job that Michael Reynolds does in explaining the complex inter-dynamics of the various peoples of eastern Anatolia and the Caucusus.
* Mr. Reynolds does a great job of documenting how the dominant powers of the time, i.e. Imperial Russia, France, Britain, etc. assumed it was a forgone conclusion that they would get some part of the Ottoman Empire. This is of course backed up by meticulous source referencing on the part of the author, which was very impressive to say the least.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book brings a new light to the last years of Ottoman Empire during WW1 and the Young Turks who put an extraordinary struggle to keep the Empire alive. Read morePublished 8 months ago by oyabain
The late Ottoman Empire has not been treated kindly by historians but a new generation of historians have begun to produce well-balanced and good quality books. Dr. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mesut Uyar
I was looking forward to reading this but the first reference I looked at was so riddled with errors that I wasn't sure I could trust anything in the book. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Alum Bati
I like it to say the least. Chin strap is handy in windy weather.Published 19 months ago by Akgun Mertdogan
By Michael A. Reynolds
I am sure many of you are familiar with the book your professor assigned where he was the author, or the guy who is... Read more
Interesting facts and details combined with a great structure.
You can read it as easily as a fancy novel, yet you can see and understand many great plots of the related... Read more
"Shattering Empires" provides a well documented tour d'horizon of the geo-political drama that underlies the birth of modern Turkey. Read morePublished on August 3, 2013 by James Callahan
I suspect that most readers of this book anticipate a narrative of Ottoman-Russian imperial conflict in the years leading up to and during WWI. Read morePublished on May 28, 2012 by R. Albin
Michael Reynolds' new study on the relations between the Ottoman and Russian Empires during the first quarter of the twentieth century is a timely work that attempts to revise many... Read morePublished on April 14, 2012 by Armen Manuk-khaloyan