Family of Shadows: A Century of Murder, Memory, and the Armenian American Dream

Overview

As a world war rages through Europe in 1915, Ottoman authorities commence the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians—the first genocide of modern history. A teenage boy named Kaspar Hovannisian is among the surviving generation of Armenians who escape the ruins of their ancestral homeland and build communities around the world. Kaspar follows the American dream to the San Joaquin Valley of California, where he cultivates a small farm and begins investing in real estate. But memories of Armenia burn ...

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Family of Shadows: A Century of Murder, Memory, and the Armenian American Dream

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Overview

As a world war rages through Europe in 1915, Ottoman authorities commence the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians—the first genocide of modern history. A teenage boy named Kaspar Hovannisian is among the surviving generation of Armenians who escape the ruins of their ancestral homeland and build communities around the world. Kaspar follows the American dream to the San Joaquin Valley of California, where he cultivates a small farm and begins investing in real estate. But memories of Armenia burn strong—a legacy of love, anguish, and faith in a national rebirth.

Kaspar's son Richard leaves the family farm, ready to defend the history of a lost nation against the forces of time and denial. He helps pioneer the field of Armenian studies in the United States and becomes a worldwide authority on genocide. Richard's son Raffi is also haunted—and inspired—by the past. In 1989 he leaves his law firm in Los Angeles to stage the original act of repatriation to Soviet Armenia, where he goes on to play a historic role in the creation of a new and independent republic. Now, in a moving book that is part investigative memoir and part history of the Armenian people, Raffi's son, Garin Hovannisian, tells his family's story—a tale of tragedy, memory, and redemption that illuminates the long shadows that history casts on the lives of men.

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor - Vartan Gregorian
"Weaving together history, culture, and original reporting, Family of Shadows is an inspired tribute, full of passion and appreciation for the genealogy of the Hovannisian family and its transformation into an American success story."
Christopher Hitchens
With what one can only describe as an artistic skill, Garin Hovannisian interleaves the micro-story of his resilient family with the macro-narrative of the Armenian Genocide. One swiftly learns to appreciate the true meaning of the word ‘indestructible’.
David Ignatius
“Garin Hovannisian tells one of modern history’s great unexamined stories. Whether you are an Armenian American like me or come to this story anew, Family of Shadows will move you with the intensity and intimacy of its detail.”
Dr. Vartan Gregorian
“Weaving together history, culture, and original reporting, Family of Shadows is an inspired tribute, full of passion and appreciation for the genealogy of the Hovannisian family and its transformation into an American success story.”
Samuel G. Freedman
“Garin Hovannisian brings a historian’s rigor, a poet’s lyricism, and a native son’s passion to this remarkable book. Intimate as memoir yet expansive as an epic, Family of Shadows puts the Armenian experience, in all its tragedy and triumph, into memorably human terms.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061792144
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 822,395
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Garin K. Hovannisian is a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship in Creative Writing and the Lynton Award for Book Writing. He lives in Los Angeles and Yerevan, Armenia. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Liberty.

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Table of Contents

Prologue xiii

1 Wasteland 3

2 Army of Orphans 21

3 Happy Go Lucky 38

4 Onward, Immortals! 60

5 Monument to the Ignored 78

6 Almost Heaven 95

7 The Party's Over 119

8 Fax Machine 150

9 Strangers 179

10 The Road to Unreachable Glory 208

Epilogue 244

Notes 259

Language and Transliteration 269

Acknowledgments 271

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2010

    History that reads like fiction.

    I love books that teach me things but are fascinating at the same time, and Family of Shadows is a perfect example of this. You won't be able to put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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