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For potential travelers to Turkey: a 2010 review of the 2006 edition
on July 26, 2010
(Note: This book has gone thru several editions, 2006 being the most recent. Thus, only one of the previous seven Amazon reviews --- the 2008 one [all the others are from the 1990s] --- is really pertinent for anyone currently considering a purchase).
The first year mentioned in the book is 500,000BC. The last is 2005AD. That's a lot of time to cover in only 247 pages (including indices). Hence, some of it is about as interesting as a biblical begat: "Anitta of Kussara founded the Hittite kingdom, destroying Hattus and tranfering his capital to Kanesh, which now became known as Nesha.... Laberna moved the capital back to Hattus --- now to be called Hattuse or Hattusas --- and took the name Hattusili" and so on.
There's specific mention in the text of practically all 37 of the Ottoman sultans, including (but not limited to) 4 Mustafas; 6 Mehmets; 5 Murats; Bayezit the Thunderbolt; Ibraheim the Mad; and, of course, Suleyman the Magnificent. An 9-page appendix provides the names, dates, and dynasties of almost 200 rulers of all or parts of what is now Turkey from the early 18th century BC onward (but not including the Persians and the Romans, although several of them do show up in the text). Another appendix (8 pages) is a chronology of major events from 8000BC until the above-referenced 2005 (the event that year being currency reform). Yet another appendix (again 9 pages)is an historical gazetteer beginning with Aezani (the site of the best preserved Roman temple) and ending with Zongudak (the Anatolian equivalent of Port Talbot).
Truly mind-boggling. Also dry as a desert.
One curiosity deserving comment is the noticeable revision of several pages of the text where the type and the space between lines have obviously been altered. Pages 165 and 183 are very obvious (and a couple of others are suspicious). Since the subject matter on 165 is the Armenian genocide and on 183 an introduction to Turkey since 1939 the changes are perhaps for political purposes. It would be interesting to see the pre-alteration texts. Maybe they are what so riled a couple of the book's reviewers from the 90s decade.
In any case, if you want to become a scholar of Turkey, this book is probably a good first step toward your goal. On the other hand, if you're just an ordinary tourist/traveler, the history chapters should suffice in Steves or Cadogan or Lonely Planet or whatever other guidebook you choose.