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The unglamorized life of Ataturk, otherwise Mustapha Kemal, the founder and longtime President of the Turkish Republic, is cast in a feverish fictionalized biography. The book is saturated with tales of debauchery and personal rebellion, and tells of a life set at a brutal and egotistical pitch. Underneath this hopped-up prose is the account of the Turk of humble birth who became a soldier of such skill that he earned the title ""Kemal"" which means perfection. He fought the long and complicated succession of wars against many nations including the defeat of the British at Gallipoli which earned him the title of saviour of the Dardanelles, and he led troops that repelled the Greek invasion. His goals were the nationalization and democratization of Turkey. In October of 1923 the victorious soldier saw the abolition of the Sultanate and his own election to the Presidency of Turkey. He held this office until 1938 although in his hands it was akin to dictatorship. Yet he used his power well for Turkey. Mustapha abolished the fez for men and the veil for women. He brought democratic ways to the land, education for all, and pushed ahead great plans for building and irrigation. When he instituted family names in Turkey, the Assembly chose his, ""Ataturk"" ""Father of the Turks"". The author is not particularly sympathetic to Mestapha and dwells at greater length on his sins and violences than on his constructive achievements. This lively story is well suited to those who like their history with dramatics.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1954
Publisher: Little, Brown