Atat?rk: An Intellectual Biography

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"Learned and deeply insightful, this elegantly written book offers a unique perspective on the founder of modern Turkey. Hanioglu's exploration of the evolving ideas of Atatürk, their provenance and context, and their impact on the policies of the Turkish Republic is a singular contribution to understanding Atatürk and his legacy. It is also a brilliant intellectual and cultural history of his age, and a veritable model of how the intertwined paths of politics and the history of ideas can be explored through the ...

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Ataturk: An Intellectual Biography

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Overview

"Learned and deeply insightful, this elegantly written book offers a unique perspective on the founder of modern Turkey. Hanioglu's exploration of the evolving ideas of Atatürk, their provenance and context, and their impact on the policies of the Turkish Republic is a singular contribution to understanding Atatürk and his legacy. It is also a brilliant intellectual and cultural history of his age, and a veritable model of how the intertwined paths of politics and the history of ideas can be explored through the medium of biography."—Muhammad Qasim Zaman, author of The Ulama in Contemporary Islam

"This is the best book on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ever written. Hanioğlu deals with virtually every single aspect of Atatürk's biography without drowning in the partisan battles surrounding it. I am certain that this powerful book will become a classic."—Cemil Aydin, author of The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia

"Hanioğlu has produced a work that is both accessible and intellectually stimulating. It is safe to say that there are few scholars alive today who are able to provide the rich historical perspective on Atatürk's life that Hanioğlu provides here."—Benjamin C. Fortna, author of Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State, and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire

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Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
[F]resh and concise . . .
Choice
Hanioglu has prepared a concise, compelling biography of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He examines the political and intellectual movements that influenced Atatürk from his early school years until his death in 1938, along with the implementation of their ideas, which led to the development of the Republic of Turkey. . . . This work provides the essential intellectual framework to understand Ataturk and the enormity of his accomplishments.
Times Higher Education
[T]his intellectual biography is a significant achievement, and indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the roots of modern Turkey.
Foreign Affairs
Atatürk does not lack for biographers, most of whose books are adulatory, but none has so thoroughly brought to life the ideological climate that molded the man as has Hanioglu. And few have presented Atatürk with such objectivity.
Digest of Middle East Studies - Douglas H. Garrison
In this timely and brilliantly articulated book, Hanioglu reaffirms the need for an intimate understanding of historical context in biographical research. . . . This rich and exhaustively researched study is indispensible for academics and students of Turkish and Middle Eastern studies alike. It is the definitive biography of Atatürk and an instant classic in the field.
Literary Review - Andrew Mango
Professor Sükrü Hanioglu . . . combines elegance and meticulousness in Atatürk.
Today's Zaman - Sahin Alpay
Professor Hanioglu's study, based on meticulous research of primary sources, deals with the social setting and intellectual sources that shaped the ideas that have directed Ataturk's actions and policies. The book not only helps demythologize Ataturk, it also provides a most valuable contribution to a better understanding of the state he founded. . . . Ataturk is indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to understand Turkey's politics.
Herkul Millas
M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic.
Political Quarterly - Rifat Kandiyoti
This book has the potential to inspire a new period of much needed assessment of Atatürk's thought, work and legacy.
Journal of Islamic Studies - Clement Dodd
This book breaks new ground in seeking to determine what Ataturk's reforms actually meant for their creator instead of trying to fit together his policies into a coherent doctrine called Ataturkism, as others have done. It is an important addition to the literature on the republic that Ataturk sought to define, and was determined to create.
Clelia Delbarre
This book is aimed less at historians of the Ottoman Empire or of Turkey than at a wider public. It is a fine work of synthesis, fully accessible to non-specialists, which takes account of the complexity of the transitional period between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Hanioglu's line of argument is perfectly clear and his account is easy to follow.
Today's Zaman - Herkül Millas
M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic.
booksandideas.net - Clélia Delbarre
This book is aimed less at historians of the Ottoman Empire or of Turkey than at a wider public. It is a fine work of synthesis, fully accessible to non-specialists, which takes account of the complexity of the transitional period between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Hanioglu's line of argument is perfectly clear and his account is easy to follow.
Time Magazines Higher Education
[T]his intellectual biography is a significant achievement, and indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the roots of modern Turkey.
From the Publisher
"[F]resh and concise . . ."—New Yorker

"[T]his intellectual biography is a significant achievement, and indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the roots of modern Turkey."—Times Higher Education

"Atatürk does not lack for biographers, most of whose books are adulatory, but none has so thoroughly brought to life the ideological climate that molded the man as has Hanioglu. And few have presented Atatürk with such objectivity."—Foreign Affairs

"In this timely and brilliantly articulated book, Hanioglu reaffirms the need for an intimate understanding of historical context in biographical research. . . . This rich and exhaustively researched study is indispensible for academics and students of Turkish and Middle Eastern studies alike. It is the definitive biography of Atatürk and an instant classic in the field."—Douglas H. Garrison, Digest of Middle East Studies

"Cutting through years of writings filled with admiration for this charismatic leader and a popular sentiment close to hero worship, Hanioğlu performs a skillful analysis, focusing on the ideas and intellectual movements that shaped the statesman, rather than recounting Atatürk's personal life. . . . Hanioglu does a stellar job highlighting the scientific trends Atatürk used to validate his Turkish national ideal."—Library Journal

"Hanioglu has prepared a concise, compelling biography of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He examines the political and intellectual movements that influenced Atatürk from his early school years until his death in 1938, along with the implementation of their ideas, which led to the development of the Republic of Turkey. . . . This work provides the essential intellectual framework to understand Ataturk and the enormity of his accomplishments."—Choice

"M. Sükrü Hanioglu probes the bold and pragmatic mind of Atatürk in his new book. . . . Hanioglu provides us with a fresh way to look at Atatürk."—Saudi Gazette

"Professor Sükrü Hanioglu . . . combines elegance and meticulousness in Atatürk."—Andrew Mango, Literary Review

"Professor Hanioglu's study, based on meticulous research of primary sources, deals with the social setting and intellectual sources that shaped the ideas that have directed Ataturk's actions and policies. The book not only helps demythologize Ataturk, it also provides a most valuable contribution to a better understanding of the state he founded. . . . Ataturk is indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to understand Turkey's politics."—Sahin Alpay, Today's Zaman

"M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic."—Herkül Millas, Today's Zaman
"This book has the potential to inspire a new period of much needed assessment of Atatürk's thought, work and legacy."—Rifat Kandiyoti, Political Quarterly

"This book breaks new ground in seeking to determine what Ataturk's reforms actually meant for their creator instead of trying to fit together his policies into a coherent doctrine called Ataturkism, as others have done. It is an important addition to the literature on the republic that Ataturk sought to define, and was determined to create."—Clement Dodd, Journal of Islamic Studies

"This book is aimed less at historians of the Ottoman Empire or of Turkey than at a wider public. It is a fine work of synthesis, fully accessible to non-specialists, which takes account of the complexity of the transitional period between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Hanioglu's line of argument is perfectly clear and his account is easy to follow."—Clélia Delbarre, booksandideas.net

"By setting [Ataturk's] remarkable achievements within their historical context, Mr Hanioglu has not only done him a service, he has also provided the reader a better understanding of the contradictions of the fascinating country that is modern Turkey."—Kanika Datta, Business Standard

"Professor Hanioglu has developed a well-informed and in-depth theoretical account, perhaps the most successful so far, of the ideological elements that shaped the ideas and mindset of Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk). Although readers may be tempted to pass over yet another Atatürk biography, I would urge them to read this one. . . . [T]he present study will undoubtedly become an indispensable tool to historians of modern Turkey. It will be widely consulted by anyone seeking to understand not only the historical roots of modern Turkey, but also the present conditions in that society. Professor Hanioglu's essential biography places Atatürk firmly within his historical and intellectual contexts, offering to the public a solid, well-written and comprehensive study."—Nikos Christofis, New Middle Eastern Studies

"Hanioglu examines the development of his political philosophy in the context of historical events, allowing for better comparison between Ataturk's accomplishments and other statesmen of his time. Because of the care the author shows in establishing the international context, this book will be of interest to any student of political ideologies and the emergence of nation-states between the wars."—Christianne Gates, History

Saudi Gazette
M. Sükrü Hanioglu probes the bold and pragmatic mind of Atatürk in his new book. . . . Hanioglu provides us with a fresh way to look at Atatürk.
Digest of Middle East Studies
In this timely and brilliantly articulated book, Hanioglu reaffirms the need for an intimate understanding of historical context in biographical research. . . . This rich and exhaustively researched study is indispensible for academics and students of Turkish and Middle Eastern studies alike. It is the definitive biography of Atatürk and an instant classic in the field.
— Douglas H. Garrison
Literary Review
Professor Sükrü Hanioglu . . . combines elegance and meticulousness in Atatürk.
— Andrew Mango
Today's Zaman
M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic.
— Herkül Millas
Political Quarterly
This book has the potential to inspire a new period of much needed assessment of Atatürk's thought, work and legacy.
— Rifat Kandiyoti
Today's Zaman - Herkul Millas
M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic.
Literary Review
Professor Sükrü Hanioglu . . . combines elegance and meticulousness in Atatürk.
— Andrew Mango
Digest of Middle East Studies
In this timely and brilliantly articulated book, Hanioglu reaffirms the need for an intimate understanding of historical context in biographical research. . . . This rich and exhaustively researched study is indispensible for academics and students of Turkish and Middle Eastern studies alike. It is the definitive biography of Atatürk and an instant classic in the field.
— Douglas H. Garrison
Today's Zaman
M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic.
— Herkül Millas
Political Quarterly
This book has the potential to inspire a new period of much needed assessment of Atatürk's thought, work and legacy.
— Rifat Kandiyoti
Library Journal
Hanioglu (Near Eastern studies, Princeton Univ.; A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire) takes on the task of "demythologizing" Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938), the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic. Cutting through years of writings filled with admiration for this charismatic leader and a popular sentiment close to hero worship, Hanioglu performs a skillfull analysis, focusing on the ideas and intellectual movements that shaped the statesman, rather than recounting Atatürk's personal life. An early education in secular and military schools, distrust of dogma, and adherence to scientism, labeling "religion as the major obstacle to human progress," created a president determined to make Turkey a modern, secular, Western-leaning nation (an effort still seen today in Turkey's bid to join the European Union). Hanioglu does a stellar job highlighting the scientific trends Atatürk used to validate his Turkish national ideal. Racial anthropology, historic linguistics, and other ideas of sometimes dubious merit were all tools to proclaim the superiority of the Turkish and bolster a country crushed by Western Europe in World War I. VERDICT This is an insightful intellectual biography of one of the 20th century's most fascinating statesmen. Highly recommended for scholars of Atatürk, Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, and the Middle East.—Veronica Arellano, California, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691157948
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/7/2013
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 974,716
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

M. Sükrü Hanioğlu is the Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His books include "A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire" (Princeton).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix
A Note on Transliteration and Personal and Place Names xi
Turkish Pronunciation Guide xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. Fin-de-siècle Salonica 8
Chapter 2. Das Volk in Waffen: The Formation of an Ottoman Officer 31
Chapter 3. The Scientism of the Young Turks 48
Chapter 4. From Wars to the Great War: A Hero Is Born 68
Chapter 5. Muslim Communism? The Turkish War of Independence 86
Chapter 6. The Secular Republic 129
Chapter 7. Nationalism and Kemalism 160
Chapter 8. Turkey and the West 199
Conclusion 226
Bibliography 233
Index 255

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