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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Surely definitive ... I enjoyed every page and recommend this book highly (Simon Sebag Montifiore, Mail on Sunday)

A fluent, thorough and enjoyable biography, which for comprehensiveness, balance and deftness of touch outclasses all the alternatives for the English reader (Mark Mazower, New Statesman)

The best concise account I have ever seen of the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The narrative is gripping. It does not merely present all the facts of Ataturk's career but paints a credible picture of the whole man (Geoffrey Lewis)

The profundity of Mango's analysis and his empathy with the years of national regeneration lift Ataturk to a higher level of biography than any previous account (Alan Palmer, Literary Review)

Takes its place at the top (Norman Stone, Sunday Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

This biography of Atat?rk aims to strip away the myth to show the complexities of the man beneath. Born plain Mustafa in Ottoman Salonica in 1881, he trained as an army officer but was virtually unknown until 1919, when he took the lead in thwarting the victorious Allies' plan to partition the Turkish core of the Ottoman Empire.

He divided the Allies, defeated the last Sultan and secured the territory of the Turkish national state, becoming the first president of the new republic in 1923. He imposed coherence, order and mordernity and in the process, created his own legend and his own cult.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 60 commentaires
125 internautes sur 135 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ataturk 20 avril 2000
Par Jamie Stellar - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I am a Turkish American who has read almost every Turkish and non-Turkish book about Ataturk's life. While I found this book to be a very well searched and written, it is a hard read. I found it does not pull you like Lord Kinross's Ataturk does. Mango did draw a very honest picture of Ataturk and at the end of the book, despite his weaknesses, you find yourself admiring the subject and what he accomplished. Still, the author talks more about the events surrounding Ataturk's decisions rather than his emotional and mental condition while making those decisions. One think that annoyed me through out the book was his trying to clear some myths and stories told over the years. That would be OK if there was any way of checking the facts but in most cases there are not. He questions stories told by friends, foes and Ataturk himself, without telling the reader why he is questioning them. In other words, he speculates that the particular story must have happened some other way but he does not have any prove to back it up. Still it is an honest book and I am glad he is very even handed dealing with history. Turks usually complain of biases in foreign authors' writings. It is clear Mango has no biases and he reports only the facts. I am also glad he is even handed about Ataturk's private life. Many ugly allegations have been made against Ataturk by his enemies that continues to this day. While he was not perfect, he was not what his enemies have made him out to be and Mango gives a very clear picture of his private life with warts and all. He also explains why and how some of these ugly stories were spread and continue to spread to this day. It is a good book for educational purposes. My favorite, however, is still Lord Kinross's Ataturk.
99 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Father Turk's Story 3 juin 2000
Par E. T. Veal - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
When the Turkish Republic made it mandatory for all citizens to adopt surnames, its president Mustapha Kemal selected "Ataturk" - "Father Turk" - as uniquely his own. (His sister and other relatives were not allowed to use it.) The sobriquet embodied Kemal's image of himself, which was shared by many other Turks then and thereafter.
This hefty biography, written by a veteran and sympathetic observer of the Turkish scene, is more detailed and less fawning than Lord Kinross's 1964 tome, previously the best-known English life of Kemal. It is based on an extensive array of printed Turkish sources, synthesizing what a diligent modern Turk would know about Kemal if he read everything that is readily available. On the other hand, the absence of archival research leaves many evidentiary conflicts unresolved and gives the accounts of controversial episodes a "he said, she said" flavor.
The focus is very closely, perhaps too closely, on Kemal himself. We are presented not only with the dramatic incidents of his exciting career (conspiracies, coups, wars, assassinations) and disorderly private life (womanizing, alcoholism, corrupt cronies, broken friendships, suspicions of foul play) but also with itineraries of his travels and summaries of numerous unmemorable speeches. The decrees of "Kemalism" - abolishing the Caliphate and the shariat, secularizing education, reforming the Turkish language, adopting the Christian calendar, granting equality to women, compelling men to wear European-style hats - issue forth from Ankara, but we barely glimpse how they were received in the country at large or how much fundamental change they truly wrought. Recent history makes it obvious that Kemal's project of detaching Turkey from the Islamic world and annexing it to his vision of Western civilization did not win unanimous support. Mango offers little help in understanding the reasons for acceptance or rejection. He also says virtually nothing about economic developments. The absence of statistics on production, incomes and trade is refreshing but leaves out important data that would place political developments in clearer context.
The author's decision to limit his perspective is forgivable. "Father Turk" is a large enough subject without devoting a lot of pages to his "children". Within its confines, the book is clearly written and comprehensive, though there is a certain trailing off near the end of Kemal's life, as he took less part in day-to-day governing and acted more like a king than a dictator. That, too, was the period when he became engrossed in eccentric historical and linguistic theories (not without parallel elsewhere in the 1930's) aimed at proving that every nation that lived or ever had lived in Anatolia was "Turkish" (especially the Kurds, though not, naturally, the Armenians or Greeks). Mango mentions these follies but clearly wishes that he didn't have to.
The book's overall evaluation of its protagonist is positive but not uncritical. Readers with strong partisan predispositions, whether pro or con, will find passages that will annoy or anger them. Kemal's admirers will question the generally favorable view of the Ottoman regime (termed "an inefficient and accommodating despotism" that was moving steadily toward modernity) and the emphasis on the early Republic's brutal and dictatorial ways. Critics will complain that the picture of modern Turkey is sugar-coated, that the sufferings of Greeks, Armenians and Kurds are downplayed and that the destructive side of Kemal's "cultural revolution" is ignored.
So this is not the "ideal" biography of Turkey's founder. It is, nonetheless, an excellent one and is worth the time of anyone who has more than a passing interest in the largest and most powerful nation in the Middle East.
58 internautes sur 63 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Nationalist/Secularist shrouded in controversy 12 août 2000
Par Arthur Amchan - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Anyone concerned with religious fundamentalism should become familiar with Kemal Attaturk, one of the few statesmen in history to confront it headon.
Andrew Mango's book is not easy to read, partially because he tries to be comprehensive. Most American readers will not be interested in many parts of the book. However, Mango is much clearer than Lord Kinross, author of the only other Attaturk biography in English, on certain aspects of Attaturk's life.
Mango is much clearer on the role played by Attaturk at Gallipoli. He points out that although he is now described as the "victor of Gallipoli", that in 1919 the British did not recognize his name (Mustapha Kemal, at that time). Nevetheless, it is clear that Attaturk deserves much credit for the outcome of the battle, even if the credit must be shared with others--including the Germans.
When reading the Kinross biography, I assumed the author was hiding something regarding Attaturk's involvement in the massacre of the Armenians. Mango clearly indicates that Attaturk had no role and was still at Gallipoli when it occurred. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but I do wonder where one of the other reviewers, who compares Attaturk to Hitler and Stalin, gets his information.
It is clear that the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s is similar in some respects to ethnic cleansing. However, I suspect that Mango is correct in portraying the atrocities as occurring on both sides. It is also clear that the Greeks were the aggressors in the Turkish War of Independence and the Kemal Attaturk's role in defeating them entitles him to a place in Turkish history equivalent to Washington and Grant.
Mango sheds more light than Kinross on Attaturk's unusual personal life. He also indicates that in 1926 he allowed a number of innocent people to be executed and persecuted to remove all potential competitors from the Turkish political scene.
Whether Attaturk's efforts to wean the Turks from Islamic fundamentalism are successful in the long run remains to be seen. Personally, I regard him very highly for trying, and wish there were more leaders with the courage to confront the religious fundamentalists in other countries, not only the Islamic countries, but also the United States and Israel.
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Interesting treatment of an interesting subject 24 juin 2002
Par Daniel H. Bigelow - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Turkey is a key player in a very important region, and it is impossible to understand it without understanding the man who left his mark so deeply in it, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This biography helped me get some understanding on this great leader whose career has been unjustly neglected in the West. It is mostly a political biography, and thankfully it fails to emphasize the kiss-and-tell tabloid details of Ataturk's life. Author Andrew Mango is no censor and we get a complete view of Ataturk, but Mango keeps the spotlight away from prurient details.
The picture Mango gives us of Ataturk is a compelling one, of a man driven to achieve power from an early age, yet, in an age of expansionist ideology, a man uniquely qualified to be the absolute ruler of his country because he knew his limits and those of his nation. Unlike the fascists and communists, Ataturk concentrated on increasing the quality of life of his people rather than increasing the size of the lands under his dominion.
It is clear Mango softpeadals some major issues in Ataturk's life and Turkish history. For instance, he circumlocutes around the issue of Ataturk's bodyguards murdering a political opponent of his, and there is no mention of the Armenian genocide (which, in any event, took place during the Young Turk revolution, when Ataturk held insufficient political power to be considered at all responsible).
But this is not to say he gives Ataturk a free pass -- we do get a picture of a human being from this book, not a whitewashed icon. Still, if Ataturk was arrogant, greedy for power, and created the form of democracy while never actually allowing contrary opinions to prevail, there is no question that his rule was spectacularly good for Turkey: probably better than democracy or any other dictator could have been. Even allowing for the puffery and legend that has grown up around this admired historical figure -- and Mango is expert in cutting through the laudatory nonsense that has accreted around the Ataturk legend (often with Atatiurk's own connivance) -- history presents Ataturk as a man who was right darn near as often as he thought he was.
The ways he was right, and the ways he stamped his correct ideas on Turkey, have had an enormous effect on Turkey -- and, through Turkey's cultural influence, have influenced its entire region. Understanding Kemal and Kemalism, and understanding Ataturk's genius for creating an effective government out of the fragments of a dying Islamic empire, sheds new light on regional politics in a sensitive area of the globe. While we are unlikely to see a leader as great as Ataturk there again, in his ideas and legacy we can find reason for hope.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Superbly researched, massively comprehensive 15 mai 2005
Par 3rdeadly3rd - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Mustafa Kemal, known to the world as Ataturk, the "father of the Turks", is one of the more important figures in 20th-century history overall and an essential figure in an appreciation of the Middle East. While scholarship on the Ottoman Empire, into which he was born, and the Republic of Turkey, which he helped create, are both quite advanced, this is one of the very few biographies about the man himself. Fortunately, Andrew Mango has written a comprehensive and thorough book.

While other reviewers have complained about certain aspects of Mango's work, these criticisms are largely unfounded. The abundance of Turkish (and Ottoman) terms with translations is obviously necessary to understand the life and times of a man who ascended to lead that country, and the cast of supporting characters who fought alongside and against the subject are also necessary to understand the history of the events in question. While many of the names are confusing to the casual reader, this is an unavoidable fact of the history of that part of the world. As for the criticism that Mango shifts topics within paragraphs, this is simply laughable in its evident lack of familiarity with the book in question.

In writing this biography of Ataturk, Mango has had to tread a very fine path. In Turkey even today, he is revered as a great leader who almost single-handedly saved the nation from oblivion. Thankfully, Mango corrects some of this glowing hagiography by demonstrating that comments attributed to Ataturk date from many years after the events in question and were in fact made to serve a particular agenda.

Mango does not, however, over-correct and paint an unsympathetic picture of the man. What emerges, rather, is an enigmatic man with unquestionable talent and vision as well as an unwavering self-belief. Speaking as a historian, I don't envy Mango his task of painting such a complex character.

Admittedly there are omissions and a rather fond characterisation of the Ottoman Empire in its decay. For the latter, it is probably safe to say that this was at least the impression of the late Empire which would have been held by Ataturk and some of his contemporaries (at least before the First World War). For the former, the scholarship of the rest of Ataturk's life outweighs much of these omissions.

As mentioned above, this is heavy-going as a casual read. The sheer volume of locations, battles, military positions and contemporaries of Ataturk will confuse many readers. Likewise, the scholarly rigour with which Mango addresses himself to the task is perhaps less suited to a non-specialist reader. However, for both the specialist and the non-specialist who is prepared to read a considerable amount of detail (remembering that this is a biography of both a military leader and a man who had unquestioned political power, and who developed a political ideology over his long career), it comes highly recommended.
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