In this measured study, De Waal asserts his optimism that young scholars, freed from past narratives and drawing upon...



The causes and consequences of a crime against humanity.

Journalist, historian and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, de Waal (The Caucasus: An Introduction, 2010, etc.) investigates an event still “highly politicized,” although it occurred a century ago: the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and 1916. Drawing on archival sources, interviews, contemporary newspaper accounts and current scholarship, the author assesses the context, and political and cultural aftermaths, of the atrocity that Armenians insist was genocide, an accusation that Turkey has consistently denied. De Waal presents evidence that the ruthless killings did not result from hatred and paranoia on the parts of all Turks and Kurds but rather were fomented by Turkish Unionist leaders intent on pushing the country into modernity. As one historian argued, some mass atrocities have been incited when a minority identified as “primitive” is “perceived as a threat and ultimately destroyed.” The Armenian narrative about the massacre became complicated after 1944, when a Polish-Jewish lawyer coined the term “genocide,” which he defined as “the mass slaughter of a national group.” In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which stipulated that acts against the victim group were punishable if “committed with intent to destroy.” Turkey hotly denied that “intent” could be proved. Later, with increased attention on the Holocaust, the term “genocide” generated controversy when Holocaust survivors and historians objected to its application to anything other than the Nazi extermination of Jews. For generations, what to call the event has made a Turkish-Armenian dialogue impossible.

In this measured study, De Waal asserts his optimism that young scholars, freed from past narratives and drawing upon “hidden histories of the Armenians,” will amplify what is known about the late Ottoman period and complicate a history that both sides have tried mightily to own. A perfect scholarly complement to Meline Toumani’s outstanding memoir, There Was and There Was Not (2014).

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-19-935069-8

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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