An astonishing retelling of 20th-century history from the Ottoman perspective, delivering profound new insights into World War I and the contemporary Middle East.
Between 1911 and 1922, a series of wars would engulf the Ottoman Empire and its successor states, in which the central conflict, of course, was World War I - a story we think we know well. As Sean McMeekin shows us in this revelatory new history of what he calls the "wars of the Ottoman succession", we know far less than we think. 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. The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East draws from McMeekin's years of groundbreaking research in newly opened Ottoman and Russian archives. With great storytelling flair, McMeekin makes new the epic stories we know from the Ottoman front, from Gallipoli to the exploits of Lawrence in Arabia, and introduces a vast range of new stories to Western listeners. His accounts of the lead-up to World War I and the Ottoman Empire's central role in the war itself offers an entirely new and deeper vision of the conflict. Harnessing not only Ottoman and Russian but also British, German, French, American, and Austro-Hungarian sources, the result is a truly pioneering work of scholarship that gives full justice to a multitiered war involving many belligerents.
McMeekin also brilliantly reconceives our inherited Anglo-French understanding of the war's outcome and the collapse of the empire that followed. The book chronicles the emergence of modern Turkey and the carve up of the rest of the Ottoman Empire as it has never been told before, offering a new perspective on such issues as the ethno-religious bloodletting and forced population transfers that attended the breakup of empire, the Balfour Declaration, the toppling of the caliphate, and the partition of Iraq and Syria - bringing the contemporary consequences into clear focus.
Every so often, a work of history completely reshapes our understanding of a subject of enormous historical and contemporary importance. The Ottoman Endgame is such a book, an instantly definitive and thrilling example of narrative history as high art.
©2015 Sean McMeekin (P)2015 Recorded Books
I've listened to a lot of WWI related books over the years so maybe I'm a bit overloaded and that isreflected in my rating. There's a lot about the Ottoman Empire and what has become the modern nation of Turkey that may be new to some, but there wasn't enough new to me to rate higher. The most intriguing aspect was the way some critical events of the war were perceived from the Ottoman point of view. I also appreciated the latter few hours providing detail on the rise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
"The Making of the Modern Middle East" seems an overplayed description. There just isn't enough about the countries other than Turkey to really earn that title.
The narration was very good, but didn't engage me as deeply as some.
I would look positively on this narrator in the future.
I would recommend this book to someone who either isn't familiar with the role of the Ottomans in WWI, and also for anyone who is a total WWI geek and wants to fill a gap in their studies.
Utterly fascinating. An essential book for those interested in WWI, and an entertaining one for all others. Ties the various activities around the Ottoman Empire in a way I've not seen before in more general history books, wisely incorporating the wars immediately before and after WWI as integral to Ottoman participation. Gallipoli is connected to the the Caucasus Front, to the Russian Navy, and to the Goeben battlecruiser and it's times under repair. The Armenian Genocide is similarly put into context as well as why the Greco-Turkish War got started and ended with an exchange of populations. Also, the reader could not have been better.
This is a thoroughly detailed military and political history of the last 15 years of the Ottoman Empire. The book’s coverage of the Ottoman theaters of war in WWI provide valuable insights into areas of the war often overlooked, but the most important parts of the book cover the pre-war and post-war eras.
Conflicts in the Balkans were endemic in the years before WWI, and McMeekin explains how any one of them could have initiated the global catastrophe that actually began in 1914. Viewed from Western Europe, WWI seems almost accidental, but, viewed from the Balkans, it seems almost inevitable.
Further, the post-war years, the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, and the ethnic cleansing both within Turkey and in the newly independent entities make current conflicts both in the Balkans and the Middle East seem to be continuations of that immediate post-war struggle.
So little time, so many books
It is harder to read a military and political book on audio than on paper, at least for me, as it makes it more difficult to follow without easy access to maps directly associated with the text. Unless of course you are already familiar with the area in question. This made following the battles a bit difficult, although not impossible thanks to Google and Wikipedia.
The summary at the end is worth all the hours of listening!
Say something about yourself!
This is a very well written and comprehensive, yet concise, narrative of the Ottoman Empire's entry into WW1 and its eventual collapse and rebirth as the Turkish nation state.
A must listen for anyone interested in Ottoman/Turkish history or WW1.
Partitioning of Ottoman Empire and rising new Turkish state out of its ashes, Mustafa Kemal's decision not to fight for Mosul. Middle East before and after Ottoman Empire .
A great book to listen tor those who wants to know the WW1 from Ottoman centric perspective
i am a big fan of the writer, and have read all of his books, but this compared to his previous book, i would say that it was the least interesting of his writings
but still, it is not a bad one at all
maybe i am comparing it to july 1914 which i consider a masterpiece
Very informative book. It sometimes feels too detailed regarding actual battles such that it slows things down. That is the main reason to knock off a star. Otherwise I felt that I learnt a great deal about imperial politics of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Those events which led to the end of the Ottoman empire and the current political map have affected our lives today. The book gives a pretty balanced look at all sides I felt. I think it is important reading.
A struggle to follow the story till the start of the 20th century. It talks of places that no longer exist and never offers any background.
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