A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility

A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility

by Taner Akcam
3.8 9

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A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility by Taner Akcam

A landmark assessment of Turkish culpability in the Armenian genocide, the first history of its kind by a Turkish historian
In 1915, under the cover of a world war, some one million Armenians were killed through starvation, forced marches, forced exile, and mass acts of slaughter. Although Armenians and world opinion have held the Ottoman powers responsible, Turkey has consistently rejected any claim of intentional genocide.
Now, in a pioneering work of excavation, Turkish historian Taner Akçam has made extensive and unprecedented use of Ottoman and other sources to produce a scrupulous charge sheet against the Turkish authorities. The first scholar of any nationality to have mined the significant evidence—in Turkish military and court records, parliamentary minutes, letters, and eyewitness accounts—Akçam follows the chain of events leading up to the killing and then reconstructs its systematic orchestration by coordinated departments of the Ottoman state, the ruling political parties, and the military. He also probes the crucial question of how Turkey succeeded in evading responsibility, pointing to competing international interests in the region, the priorities of Turkish nationalists, and the international community's inadequate attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As Turkey lobbies to enter the European Union, Akçam's work becomes ever more important and relevant. Beyond its timeliness, A Shameful Act is sure to take its lasting place as a classic and necessary work on the subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466832121
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/21/2007
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 644,735
File size: 922 KB

About the Author

Born in Ardahan Province, Turkey, in 1953, Taner Akçam is the author of ten scholarly works of history and sociology, as well as numerous articles in Turkish, German, and English. He currently teaches at the University of Minnesota.

Born in Ardahan province, Turkey, in 1953, Taner Akçam is the author of ten scholarly works of history and sociology, including A Shameful Act, as well as numerous articles in Turkish, German, and English. He currently teaches at Clark University.

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A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows that Taner Akcam has emerged as the leading Turkish historian who possesses the linguistic knowledge (reading of Ottoman Turkish) and access to archives in Turkey to tackle the subject that is the source of denial by the Turkish State. This book without exception is the most readable and best documented to support the Armenian case of being victims of genocide in 1915 and explains that even the government of Mustafa Kemal understood and recognized the genocide. Akcam explains that the title of the book, 'A Shameful Act' is from a speech by Kemal himself. But in addition to a clear explanation of the facts without polemic, Akcam clearly understands that denial of the genocide is a threat to Turkish democracy. He dedicates the book to a 'righteous Turk' who saved Armenians. This brings his writing and empathy closer to that of the most serious works that attempt to understand the Holocaust. Genocide studies can be thankful for Akcam's research and writing. The support for the book has also come from very positive reviews in top newspapers and journals. This is a great achievement and a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A necessary step has been taken, whose time came long ago, by Dr. Akcam in criticizing official Turkish government position with regard to the Armenian Genocide. There will be no genuine democracy if the past cannot be accurately acknowledged. Circumvention of the truth about the genocide not only hurts Armenians, but also Turks, as entire young generations grow up and receive an education that is missing a chapter in history. Whoever finds this book biased has a biased agenda towards genocide, period!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Ottoman Empire ethnically cleansed and murdered 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1918. The Turkish army drove hundreds of thousands of Armenians through the Der Zor desert where they died from hunger and thirst. this book is a watershed and a must read. Modern Turkey continues to vehemently deny these crimes against humanity and fights ferociously around the globe to bury the historical facts.the bad reviews posted here are clearly the work of and underwritten by the Ottoman denialists. there is one Turk you can quote who still commands almost reverential respect from his fellow countryman - Kemal Ataturk, the legendary founder of the modern nation. In an interview published on August 1, 1926 in The Los Angeles Examiner, Ataturk talked about the former Young Turks in his country: 'These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is brilliant. Akcam's meticulous examination of this matter, with his thorough analysis and his methodical account is a tool that anyone who wishes to understand this terrible chapter of the history of humanity HAS to read. The Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman authorities is a historical fact, acknowledged by outstanding men, institutions and nations all around the world: Pope John Paul II, Baltazar Garzon, the World Council of Churches, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Nobel Prize recipients... the list could go on and on. There are huge and indeniable evidences of this terrible crime. Undoubtedly, the mere existence of the Armenian Diaspora is a reality that is hard to hide (only 3 million Armenians live in Armenia, while 9 million people constitute the Armenian Diaspora, all of them descendents of the Armenians who managed to escape the annihilation of the Armenian Genocide, leaving their homeland in Anatolia -nowadays Turkey- where they had lived for 3.000 years). Each of these families can tell the story of grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, tortured, starved and killed between 1915 and 1923. Each household represents a different story of loss and destruction. But the contribution of this brave author is really remarkable. In this book, he examines unknown evidence and dares to tell the truth, jeopardizing his own safety. Akcam, as a Turkish scholar, offers a unique point of view. Thanks to courageous, honest Turkish men and women like Akcam, Turkey could have the opportunity to face its past and build a new future of reconciliation with the Armenian people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All my life, I have heard stories from my own family of how everybody, (including my ancestors) have murdered the Armenians in the region with detailed description of how the river Euphrates ran days red with blood. The interesting thing is that these would be discussed only in private with the voices being lowered as the subject matter or stories were repeated. But when official Turkish lies of the Turkish State would be recited on TV, or when 'we' were being 'attacked' by those 'ugly, deceptive, liar, treacherous' Armenians, foreigners, etc. Nobody, absolutely nobody, stood up to say the truth they had been talking about in private parties. Privately accept, and even boast about how we 'killed them all,' but publicly deny the genocide! This is the official Turkish position since these horrific events took place. A nation as my own, that is embarrassed about the identity it took around 1900's, ashamed from its past, history, the blood on their hands, can not, does not, will not even start to understand democracy, humanity, value of human lives. Taner Akcam helps us deal with this dark side of our history, a part that is so embarrassing that many Turks refuse to even think about it. Nevertheless, a side that has shaped the Turkish identity since our so-called 'liberation war.' If we do not understand the events presented in this book, we will repeat the same shameful events in our lives. History actually DID repeat itself as the Turkish state in recent times murdered around 30,000 of its Kurdish citizens, similar to the Armenian genocide. Why? Using Kurds in the genocide against our own Armenian citizens around 1915, now the monster needed more blood against its own citizens, the Kurds this time, because they do not look, speak, behave or dress like us. Those who hide the past can not survive the truth today. The same, exactly the same stupid excuses used to justify a genocide around 1915 is again being used today as if that makes murdering 800,000 - 1.5 million OK. This is the official Turkish state line. Today we are again fed the line that 'Enemy within is stabbing us in the back... so they deserve the fate of Armenians...' With nationalist press openly writing, 'We did it then, we will do it again...' Unfortunately the nationalist mentality does not question the lies of its rulers, so, many Turks today follow the distorted lies written in their secondary school history books. This is why books like 'A shameful act' becomes important when it exposes the official lies of the Turkish government. We must thank courageous Mr. Akcam and other authors like Pamuk to clean our bloody, dirty history and deal with the crimes our forefathers have committed against humanity. Otherwise we will live with this blood dripping from our hands and face. As a proud Turkish citizen, I want to live guilt free. I do not want these crimes pushed under the rug by Turkish military, official historians (parrots of government, whose paychecks depend on toeing the official lies) or the criminal Turkish state. It is time to come clean. Enough of stupidity. If we can privately accept the crimes, it is time to stand up to the crimes publicly. Mr. Akcam takes the steps to challenge the official re-written history to do just that in this book. It is also shameful that Turkey discovers France's crimes in Algeria recently when France mentions the crimes of Turkey against the Armenians. Yes, of course France also has committed those crimes against Algeria. But where were the Turkish nationalists until now? The policy of my government/nationalists is 'If you let my crimes go unmentioned, I will not bring up your crimes!' When, soon, the same issue will be brought up in the US, the Turkish nationalists will be discovering what the US has done to the blacks, natives, Filipinos. But for the time being they are silent on these genocides, to see if they can keep the US silent on the Turkish crimes. If and only if the US adop
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hello, I read the book a couple of weeks ago. I believe that the book has some serious flaws in terms of objectivity. I do not think that everything is properly cited either. I am from SE Anatolia, too. Very interestingly, different from what another person from SE Anatolia wrote a review here, all I heard about the Armenians was how brutal some of them were towards the Turkish villages and how they butchered numerous local Turks including some of my forefathers! There are many Turkish, Russian, and English documents and records verifying these ¿shameful acts¿ of Armenians. Ask the old people here they will tell you how much they suffered because of Armenian terrorism. Here in that part of Anatolia, people are aware of the fact that the Armenians were forcefully moved to Syria and Lebanon. In addition, people here also aware the fact that this forceful relocation had reasons. It was not something that is done to destroy the Armenians. Why would they try to move them from one place another if all they wanted was to massacre them? The Turks could have simply killed Armenians in their homes or in their villages without bothering themselves with relocation. Why would the Ottoman government assign hundreds and thousand of soldiers to relocate Armenians during a time when the Empire needed as many as solders possible in the western part of the country because of the wars in West? Also, many of these Armenians arrived in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon safely. Many of them went to Europe and the US from those places. However, it is a fact that the Armenians suffered a lot during the relocation. But this does not make it genocide. I think the terms ¿genocide¿ is being used so loosely. I believe anyone from SE Anatolia would definitely hear about the other side of the coin and would mention those in a book review about the Armenian `genocide¿. Thank you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book lacks objectivity. It clearly appears to have a political agenda. It is constantly against everything that was done by the Ottoman Empire. There is absolutely no mention of Ottomans having a justified reason, an Armenian armed rebellion. It is always the Armenians who are the victim all throughout the book. The book is also proving that it lacks objectivity by linking Ottoman Empire to modern Turkey today. It gave me the impression that the book was financed by Armenians that live in US, who want to use it for a political agenda against modern Turkey today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book doesn't reflect an objective view of the historical facts. The lack of proper citations and references is also disturbing to see in a history book. The chronological order and flow of events is well observed though. if you like facts and objectivity, I'd not recommend buying this book.