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The Ottoman endgame : war, revolution, and…
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The Ottoman endgame : war, revolution, and the making of the modern Middle… (original 2015; edição 2015)

por Sean McMeekin

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"Between 1911 and 1923, a series of wars--chief among them World War I--would engulf the Ottoman Empire and its successor states. It is a story we think we know well, but as Sean McMeekin shows us in this revelatory new history, we know far less than we think. Drawing from his years of ground-breaking research in newly opened Ottoman and Russian archives, The Ottoman Endgame brings to light the entire strategic narrative that led to an unstable new order in postwar Middle East--much of which is still felt today"--… (mais)
Membro:kaskitty
Título:The Ottoman endgame : war, revolution, and the making of the modern Middle East, 1908-1923
Autores:Sean McMeekin
Informação:New York, New York : Penguin Press, an imprint of Random House LLC, [2015]
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923 por Sean McMeekin (2015)

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Mostrando 5 de 5
short introduction to the fall of ottomans and raise of Turkey ( )
  Oleksandr_Zholud | Jan 9, 2019 |
Written in an easy to digest and fun matter, I found this history book one of those that is hard to put down and full of information that you would often never hear about (Fringe History). Great book for the topic of the Ottoman empire in its late stages. ( )
  Teufle | Jul 9, 2017 |
Czar Nicolas I of Russia is sometimes credited with coining the phrase “Sick Man of Europe" to describe the decrepit Ottoman Empire of the mid-nineteenth century. By the early 20th century, there could be little doubt that the disparaging sobriquet applied in spades. The Ottoman Empire was soundly defeated in two Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913 by the comparatively pipsqueak countries of Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia. One result of the wars was that the Empire lost all of its European territories to the west of the River Maritsa, which now forms the western boundary of modern Turkey. Then, when World War I broke out, the Ottomans made the disastrous decision to side with the Central Powers against the Triple Entente, ending up on the losing side of that cataclysm.

A popular theory is that the carving up of the Ottoman lands after the war, pursuant to the Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Britain, is the source of many of the problems of the current Middle East. In The Ottoman Endgame, Sean McMeekin concedes that it is not wrong to look to the aftermath of the war for the roots of many of today’s Middle Eastern problems, but the “real historical record is richer and far more dramatic than the myth.” For example, the notorious Sykes-Picot Agreement was sponsored primarily by Russia, whose foreign secretary, Alexander Samsonov, was the principal architect of the agreement. McMeekin’s retelling of the demise of the Ottoman Empire and its recrudescence as modern Turkey is a fascinating and complicated narrative.

Among the interesting facts McMeekin points out is that according to an 1893 census only 72% of the Ottoman citizens were Muslim, and that in the middle of the 19th century the majority of the population of Constantinople may have been Christian. The Balkan Wars started a trend, exacerbated by World War I, toward ethnic cleansing, with hundreds of thousands of Christians leaving the Empire and similar numbers of Muslims moving from territory lost by the Empire to areas it still controlled.

We in the West tend to think of World War I as a static slugfest conducted in the trenches of northern France. But the war in the East, particularly as it applied to the Ottoman Empire, was a much more mobile affair. In fact, the Ottomans ended up fighting the war on six different fronts, as the Entente Powers invaded them from many different angles.

At the outbreak of WWI, the Ottomans allied themselves with Germany out of fear of Russia, which had coveted control over the straits connecting the Black and Mediterranean seas for centuries. In 1914 the Russians invaded Eastern Anatolia and met with initial success. However, Russia feared its early success was quite precarious, and so it inveigled its ally, Britain, to launch a diversionary assault on the Gallipoli peninsula. The “diversion” became one of the most deadly killing grounds of the war, as the British poured hundreds of thousands of men into the battle in hopes of breaking the stalemate on the Western Front. The author credits Russian prodding more than Winston Churchill’s stubbornness for the extent of the British commitment. The Ottomans, led by Mustapha Kemal (later to be known as Ataturk, the “father of modern Turkey”), prevailed in this hecatomb, showing that there was still plenty of fight left in the “Sick Man.”

The Ottomans also soundly defeated the British in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in late 1915, but they were less successful against the Russians, who invaded across the Caucasus and held much of eastern Anatolia until the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 caused them to withdraw voluntarily. The British ultimately prevailed against the Ottomans in 1918 by invading from Egypt through Palestine, with a little help from the Arabs of Arabia.

The Treaty of Versailles, which ended the war in Europe in 1919, did not end the war for the Ottomans. The victorious Allies were ready to carve up much of the Empire for themselves. The Ottoman armies were to disband; England was to keep Egypt and to get Palestine and Mesopotamia; France was to get Syria, Lebanon, and parts of modern Turkey; and Greece was to get a large swath of western Turkey. All might have gone according to that plan, but Mustapha Kemal (Attaturk) was still in charge of a small but effective fighting force in central Anatolia. Attaturk husbanded his forces and fought only when he had an advantage. In a war that lasted until 1923, he was able to expel the Greeks from Anatolia and to establish the boundaries of modern Turkey.

McMeekin deftly handles this complexity with a lucid pen. His descriptions of the various military campaigns are riveting. This is not to say that he shortchanges the political machinations taking place. He gives more than adequate coverage to the “Young Turks,” a triumvirate that ruled the Empire from 1909 until they eventually brought it to its ruin in 1919. He also covers the Armenian massacres as objectively as possible, given the enormity of the events described.

Evaluation: This is a very satisfying book and an excellent addition to the enormous corpus of World War I literature. The book includes good maps and photos.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Aug 10, 2016 |
Quite a good history, and well balanced. The author likes the old Ottoman Empire and thinks that Abdul Hamid, the sultan deposed by the young Turks, was smart. The book goes into all of the Balkan wars that predated the great war, and he is quite good on the army and their faults. It is fairly well written and very detailed. With regard to the slaying of the Armenians, he thinks that the Ottomans were provoked, but says that everybody in the country knew about this event and he also mentions that the army had over 1000 courts martial for soldiers who either stood by or actively helped. Still, he keeps the word genocide in quotes. ( )
  annbury | Jan 16, 2016 |
Europe just before World War I was still in the absurd Middle Ages mode of ultimatums, land grab and mass migration of refugees. Mostly kingdoms, countries were forever dragging out old claims or inventing new insults that would result in takeovers, either peaceably or through conquest. Hundreds of thousands of people had to flee or were deported every year from one misery to another, based on their race, religion, ethnicity, ancestry and nationality. The ever shrinking Ottoman Empire was everyone’s favorite target, and WWI was the perfect excuse for Britain, Russia, France, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and even Australia and New Zealand to tuck in.

The Ottoman Empire was embattled from every compass direction, but it was made far worse by internal issues. From this book, it seems there were four:
-Incompetent leadership of both the sultan and the government
-Disorganized strategy, tactics and execution in WWI
-Armenian rebellion leveraging Russian support
-Losing the Caliphate of Islam to Mecca.

The book is almost entirely a blow by blow description of eastern battles, and largely from a British standpoint. There is constant reference to TE Lawrence and Lord Kitchener, to Lloyd George and Churchill (making gigantic strategic blunders from thousands of miles away). They seem to be the main characters. There is a great deal on the Russian Revolution that obviously affected the outcome for Turkey. But until the final hundred pages, it is rarely a Turkish perspective. After the armistice, the Russians stopped battling the Turks and supplied and supported them. The British were still making a murderous mess of everything, and the French were still looking for spoils of a war they hadn’t really participated in. Incredibly, Lloyd George actually called for a new war to dismember and destroy Turkey once and for all. No one raised their hand in agreement. George and his whole Liberal party became a final victim of the madness.

When Westerners look at WWI, they think of France and Belgium, the interminable trench war, the stalemate, the slaughter in Western Europe. Ottoman Endgame demonstrates the same pointless battles in the farthest eastern reaches. And worse, the allies then proceeded to botch the peace, allowing the Greeks to run amok, dividing up what was to become Turkey according to everyone’s territorial demands, and crippling it the same way they crippled Germany going forward. Word War I didn’t end in the East until 1922 when Kemal gained respected independence for Turkey.

The book concludes with the thought that the fallout of Ottoman succession continues outside Turkey to this day, with constant ethnic cleansing, religious wars and battles for religious exclusivity all around it (not to mention the unnatural borders the allies imposed for new countries). Cosmopolitanism is all but forbidden; purity is the standard. Should there be any doubt why Turkey is stubbornly its own inward-looking entity, this is why.

David Wineberg ( )
1 vote DavidWineberg | Oct 3, 2015 |
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"Between 1911 and 1923, a series of wars--chief among them World War I--would engulf the Ottoman Empire and its successor states. It is a story we think we know well, but as Sean McMeekin shows us in this revelatory new history, we know far less than we think. Drawing from his years of ground-breaking research in newly opened Ottoman and Russian archives, The Ottoman Endgame brings to light the entire strategic narrative that led to an unstable new order in postwar Middle East--much of which is still felt today"--

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