A painstaking, incisive account of the 1922 devastation of Smyrna (now Izmir) in western Turkey and the events, both...

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THE SMYRNA AFFAIR

A painstaking, incisive account of the 1922 devastation of Smyrna (now Izmir) in western Turkey and the events, both accidental and collusive, leading up to it, in which the effects --one and a half million died -- are quietly assessed and the blame is not so quietly conferred. First on the docket is the political muddle as the great powers, their military and oil interests threatened, adjusted to the rise of Mustafa Kemal and the rapid revival of Europe's ""sick man."" In the near background is Turkish slaughter and deportation of Armenians, in modern terms clearly genocide. When Greek troops occupied Smyrna in 1919 under Allied auspices, the stage was set for the violence of the Turkish reoccupation and the holocaust. Diaries, personal accounts, letters and other writings (including those of reporter Hemingway) document the looting, murder and burning. Mobs of starving, terrified, sometimes dying non-Turks crowded the shores, attempting to wade out to ships anchored in uneasy neutrality. Miss Housepian records heroism also, in the gathering force of a generally inadequate rescue effort -- men and women who broke through obstacles placed by wily to laggard foreign governments, by companies rescuing cargo before people, by the official standoffs of some of the press. According to this author -- and she is most convincing -- the Turks burned while those who could have helped looked the other way; it is a scholarly indictment.

Pub Date: May 5, 1971

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1971