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Publisher's Summary

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

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WWI from a different perspective

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Bulent
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 12-17-15

Got answers to today's problems

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • L. Maki
  • Brooklyn, Wisconsin
  • 12-22-17

I found the author to be very biased

I made it to chapter 5. I had just listened to to the history of Constantinople from another author that was very easy to understand. This author made several assumptions about the reader's knowledge of the Ottoman Empire and the events happening in the early nineteen 1900's. he was also impossible to follow because he gave little background about singular events which forced you to accept his biases.

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Evenhanded history

The best history I've read of the Ottoman dissolution between 1870 and 1923. excellent use of recently acquired materials.

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Fascinating bit of history.

A very useful history, placing events in historical context of both then and now. My only suggestion is that you may wish to peruse a period accurate map so as no to get lost.

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Kind of dry, but tells the story

I think a more lyrical author could have told it more interestingly. This is very informative though

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Fascinating story of the end of the Ottoman Empire

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.

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  • Roger
  • South Orange, NJ, United States
  • 06-14-16

Thorough Account of Events and Broader Effects

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.

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Excellent summary, perhaps a bit too detailed

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!

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  • Steve
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 12-20-15

Excellent narrative history

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.