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Publisher's Summary

In The Fall of the Ottomans, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan brings the First World War and its immediate aftermath in the Middle East to vivid life, uncovering the often ignored story of the region's crucial role in the conflict.

Bolstered by German money, arms, and military advisors, the Ottomans took on the Russian, British, and French forces and tried to provoke jihad against the Allies in their Muslim colonies. Unlike the static killing fields of the Western Front, the war in the Middle East was fast moving and unpredictable, with the Turks inflicting decisive defeats before the tide of battle turned in the Allies' favor. The great cities of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and finally Damascus fell to invading armies before the Ottomans agreed to an armistice in 1918. The postwar settlement led to the partition of Ottoman lands between the victorious powers and laid the groundwork for the ongoing conflicts that continue to plague the modern Arab world.

A sweeping narrative of battles and political intrigue from Gallipoli to Arabia, The Fall of the Ottomans is essential listening for anyone seeking to understand the Great War and the making of the modern Middle East.

©2015 Eugene Rogan (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"An illuminating work that offers new understanding to the troubled history of this key geopolitical region." (Kirkus)

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  • IRP
  • Falmouth, ME United States
  • 06-08-15

Great Book About A Little Known Part of WWI

I am an avid student of history and in particular the period involving World War I. In my many years of studying the war, I have never listened to an audio book that covered the war in the Middle East in full. Sure a number of good books have been written about the Gallipoli campaign (see the audio book by Peter Hart on the subject offered by Audible) and the Arab Revolt (TE Lawrence a/k/a Lawrence of Arabia- see Hero by Michael Korda also offered by Audible), but nothing has really put all of it into perspective in light of the Ottoman Empire's participation in the war. This book changed my perception and is well worth the listen.
The book begins in approximately 1876 as the Ottoman Sultanate enters its last phase of absolute power vested in the Sultan and follows through to the war with the Italians (over Libya), the First and Second Balkan Wars (1912 & 1913) and then the empire's entry into World War I and its demise. Along with way the listener is introduced to key historical persons such as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) or Young Turks consisting of the triumvirate of Enver, Talaat, and Djemal who drove the Empire into destruction as well as Mustapha Kemal who led what was left of the empire out of its ashes to form modern Turkey. What made the book stand out was the way in which it put the Gallipoli invasion and the Arab Revolt (along with TE Lawrence) into context in terms of how all of this related to the war against the Ottomans. It also brought to light several things I never understood about the war in Middle East theatre. The Ottoman Empire was considered to be the weakest of the Central Powers and the Allied Powers thought that they could defeat the Ottomans more easily especially given the Ottoman army's performance in the first winter of the war. This led to the failed British invasion of Gallipoli (poorly managed by the British) and the invasion of Mesopotamia (i.e. Iraq) which led to the British humiliating surrender at Kut. It was only when the British realized that they could not defeat the Ottomans alone that they turned to the Arabs to plan the revolt in the desert. The book also also did a good job in describing how the Ottoman surrender led to the formation of the Middle East as we now know it.
Overall I thought the book was well written and interesting, Derek Perkins did a good job with the narration. Although the material may be somewhat dry to listeners who do not have a current interest in or are new to this area of the war, I believe that this book is a great addition to the Audible library and I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the modern Middle East and Balkans and how the Ottoman Empire and its demise influenced these regions to this day.

47 of 48 people found this review helpful

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New Dimension to WW1

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I thought I had a reasonable knowledge about WW1. After listening to this book I had to think again. This well told story gave me an entirely new dimension to the conflict. Also an excellent background to why that part of the world is still in so much turmoil. Highly recommend! 

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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EXCEPTIONAL!!!

For any student of The Great War and/or the Middle East, this is an absolute must read. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great listen

Should have book or atlas handy for reference of the regions. Very well done book. I would recommend this book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 08-25-15

Great perspective, from global to personal

This is a great story of a different and dynamic portion of WWI than is normally told. Not exactly the "other" side, but the political drivers in this theater were connected to but much different than the European theater. Interesting to learn about the events and how they have had such long lasting effects - continuing to the modern day.

I really liked the mix of global political and historical discussion mixed with the personal accounts from inside these grand events. A very full story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Bala Cynwyd, PA, United States
  • 07-07-15

Excellent survey

A very engaging and concise overview of a very dynamic and precipitous aspect of WWI that few probably know much about.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A great addition

A great addition to the growing body of books on WWI in the Middle East compliments "Lawrence in Arabia" well. Consider reading (listening) to both.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Scot
  • Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • 10-21-15

Great Book on a 3rd Major Central Power Ally

This was an excellent history of the Ottoman Empire during WWI. I would HIGHLY recommend a listen for people who enjoy history. I thought that the level of detail covered was excellent (not overly detailed, but enough detail so that a listen could draw there own conclusions as to cause and effect). I agree with another listener comment that having a map as a reference handy (I am sure that the actual book has maps) would assist with understanding the battles better.

The section on the Armenian massacres was particularly moving and chilling.

The narrator was OUTSTANDING (Derrick Perkins). I have listened to a large number of audio books and he is one of the very best. He was so enjoyable to listen to that my next book will be specific selected from a list of his narrations.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Good History

A good listen, comprehensive, solid introduction of key characters and issues with much contemporary relevance.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Informed

The Ottoman Empire fell just over 100 years ago. I am embarrassed how little I knew about this tumultuous conflict its cost in blood and treasure and its lasting legacy which reaches into and shapes the current affairs of the region.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful