Mar 6, 2010

2) Şu Çılgın Türkler

Original Title: Şu Çılgın Türkler
Turkish Title: Şu Çılgın Türkler
English Title: N.A.
Author: Turgut Özakman
Pages: 748
Rating: 5/5
Applicable Challenges: 50 Books A Year
The book went on sale back in 2005 and I was living in Italy at the time. When I came back to Turkey, almost all my friends had read the book already. It had been on my TBR list since then but as I was a quite lazy reader in the past few years, I never managed to read it. I promised myself to read it in 2010 and I am so proud of myself to succeed. Everyone was so surprised when I was reading it and people kept saying the same thing “Haven’t you read it already?”. I was really pissed off at some point because some of the people who asked me this question hadn’t read the book at all.
The book is about the epic story of Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923). It is about the war from the view point of many different war participants, including ordinary soldiers, generals, politicians, peasants and of course, lovers.
Many books about this great war have been written in Turkey but none of them was able to attract as many readers as this one did. The way the author told the story was not like a history book but rather like a regular novel. Although the author has a degree in law, he dedicated a good part of his life (He was born in 1930) to do research about Turkish War of Independence. He gave proper references for all the information he provided in his book. The book itself is almost 750 pages and notes and references to the book make another 150 pages. The majority of Turkish readers liked/loved his book but he has also received a lot of criticism for the way he told about the traitors of the war. He has even been sued for giving misleading information about the facts of the war. Thanks to his strong reference list, which included references to Ottoman Empire archives, he has not only won all his cases but also the respect of millions in Turkey. He has written two more history books: One about one of the biggest wars of World War I, the War of Dardanelles (1915) and another one about the first years of the Turkish Republic (post-1923 period). Both are on my to-be-read list.

Although it is a quite long story, I was able to finish this book off in a few days. I remember myself reading bits of it in various spots at any time of the day. It was a pretty busy period of work but I spent three consecutive lunch breaks in a week reading. The way he told about the facts of the war was so impressive that I became really emotional when I was reading it and I was not able to watch/read any news about Turkish Army or soldiers. By the way, I work in a defense company so it was a quite hard thing to do!

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