The Knock at the Door: A Mother's Survival of the Armenian Genocide

The Knock at the Door: A Mother's Survival of the Armenian Genocide

by Margaret Ahnert
     
 

In 1915, Armenian Christians in Turkey were forced to convert to Islam, barred from speaking their language, and often driven out of their homes as the Turkish army embarked on a widespread campaign of intimidation and murder. In this riveting book, Margaret Ajemian Ahnert relates her mother Ester's terrifying experiences as a young woman during this period of

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Overview

In 1915, Armenian Christians in Turkey were forced to convert to Islam, barred from speaking their language, and often driven out of their homes as the Turkish army embarked on a widespread campaign of intimidation and murder. In this riveting book, Margaret Ajemian Ahnert relates her mother Ester's terrifying experiences as a young woman during this period of hatred and brutality. At age 15, Ester was separated from her family during a forced march away from her birth town of Amasia. Though she faced unspeakable horrors at the hands of many she met, and was forced into an abusive marriage against her will, she never lost her faith, quick wit, or ability to see the good in people. Eventually she escaped and emigrated to America. Ahnert's compelling account of her mother's suffering is framed by an intimate portrait of her relationship with her 98-year-old mother. Ester's inspiring stories, told lovingly by her daughter, will give you a window into the harrowing struggle of Armenians during a terrible period in human history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This personal, homespun account by an American of Armenian descent interweaves two narratives in alternating chapters: Ahnert's mother Ester's firsthand description of coming-of-age during, and miraculously surviving, the Turkish-sponsored Armenian genocide of 1915, and the middle-aged author's own tender yet urgent reflections on her connection to the distant world of her 98-year-old mother. Ester's formidable personality, humor and abiding religious faith pervade Ahnert's debut, while the latter's fluid transcription of Ester's story provides a frank and searing testimony, as well as a vivid depiction of Armenian village life. While Ahnert's oral history doesn't offer a rigorous historical account or analysis of the systematic slaughter, but rather supplements works like Peter Balakian's The Burning Tigrisand Taner Akcam's A Shameful Act, its force lies in the interplay between the narratives of mother and daughter. Together, their stories realize in intimate but accessible terms the vagaries of historical memory and Ester's determination to tell the truth despite the understandable urge among some victims to forget in the face of an official policy of denial from Turkey that continues today.. (Apr.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780825306839
Publisher:
Beaufort Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/19/2012
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
892,814
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

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