The Great Fire: One American's Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century's First Genocide

The Great Fire: One American's Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century's First Genocide

by Lou Ureneck


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062259882
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 577,652
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Lou Ureneck, a former Nieman fellow and editor-in-residence at Harvard University, is a professor of journalism at Boston University. Ureneck is the author of Backcast, which won the National Outdoor Book Award for literary merit, and Cabin: Two Brothers, a Dream, and Five Acres in Maine.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters xiii

Note on the Text xv

Maps xvii

Prologue 1

Part 1

Chapter 1 End of an Empire 9

Chapter 2 An Innocent Arrives 18

Chapter 3 The Great Offensive 29

Chapter 4 George Horton, Poet-Consul 36

Chapter 5 Garabed Hatcherian 45

Chapter 6 Admiral Bristol, American Potentate 48

Chapter 7 Washington Responds 60

Chapter 8 Jennings's Suggestion 70

Chapter 9 Theodora 92

Chapter 10 An American Destroyer Arrives 95

Chapter 11 The View from Nif 122

Chapter 12 Back in Constantinople 128

Chapter 13 Captain Hepburn's Dilemma 136

Chapter 14 Garabed Hatcherian 168

Chapter 15 Nourcddin Pasha 171

Part 2

Chapter 16 Fire Breaks Out 191

Chapter 17 "All Boats Over" 216

Chapter 18 Morning After 229

Chapter 19 Garabed Hatcherian 237

Chapter 20 Oil, War, and the Protection of Minorities 241

Chapter 21 Bristol's Resistance 248

Part 3

Chapter 22 Halsey Powell 259

Chapter 23 Theodora 286

Chapter 24 Days of Despair 290

Chapter 25 "We Are Celebrating Smyrna" 299

Chapter 26 Jennings and the Hand of God 307

Chapter 27 Garabed Hatcherian 319

Chapter 28 Washington Feels Pressure 325

Chapter 29 Jennings Negotiates with a Prime Minister 338

Chapter 30 The Evacuation Begins 348

Chapter 31 The Rhodes Letter Resurfaces 369

Chapter 32 Revolution 375

Chapter 33 British Assistance 378

Chapter 34 After Smyrna 383

Afterword 391

Acknowledgments 395

Notes 399

Selected Bibliography 449

Index 465

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The Great Fire: One American's Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century's First Genocide 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Great Fire is a highly accurate portrayal of one of the most disastrous fires in history--and a terrific read, as well.  The fire of Smyrna in September of 1922 marked the end of a great empire (the Ottoman Empire), the emergence of a modern nation (Turkey), and the beginning of the final chapter in the ridding of ethnic Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians from all of Asia Minor, where they had lived for millennia.  Many tens of thousands of these peoples died at the hands of the Turks in the process, but thanks to an American missionary and a sympathetic American naval officer on the scene, some three hundred thousand people lived who otherwise might have died. At the author’s request, I read an earlier version of the manuscript, and I have just read the newly published book. I learned even more this time through.  Aided by his ability to capture personality and character in a few sentences, the author illuminates what is a complex historical background at the same time he masterfully sketches a story that a reader does not want to put down. Based on my own years of research, I’m certain that the author’s accounts both of the genocidal events perpetrated by the Turks & of the American admiral’s impulse ever to hush those things up are absolutely accurate. It is also true that some 20 Allied warships in the harbor at Smyrna did virtually nothing to stop the carnage, instead playing records to drown out the screams.  Nevertheless, telling the story of a final, astonishing rescue is the author’s real passion. The writer is correct in calling this one of the greatest naval evacuations in history. It’s also a great story, awfully well told.