• The Ottoman Endgame

  • War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923
  • By: Sean McMeekin
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 19 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (114 ratings)
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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

What listeners say about The Ottoman Endgame

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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An excellent and much needed history

This is really required for anyone that wants to understand the Middle East today. And a truly fantastic narration. One awful error in the book though: the SMS Goeben did not stop at Brindisi in August 1914. It was there in July for a coaling stop but was at Messina in August which is obvious at a quick glance of a map of Italy.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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A great overlooked story!

I like to think I have a decent grasp of WW2 events, but this book holds an entirely new level of insight to the Ottoman involvement. Truly a fascinating listen! The narration is spot on and the story is clearly told, but the one drawback would be the difficulty in keeping track of the vast list of participants, particularly on the Ottoman side. I think this problem is a result of the auditory format, rather than lack of clarity on the author's part. I suggest keeping pad and pen handy to keep things sorted!

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Rich in inaccuraties and biases

If you are interested in Turkish propaganda, this book will please you. It masterfully mixes facts and lies to produce a fine but biased picture glorifying Turkey and Attatuoork. If you are seeking accurate historic account, you will be disappointed.

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Great listen.

Very intesting view of the period. Not the normal tome. Very unbiased view of a crazy time in the 20th century.

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.