Even though the title of this book is ludicrous, Andrew Finkel adds an excellent work to the conversation in Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know.
A better title would be, “Turkey: What Everyone Who Has an Interest in Turkey But Is Not On the PhD Track Would Appreciate Understanding Better”, but, of course, that title would not work for Google searches, so the chosen title will have to do.
Seriously, If you are wanting to understand modern Turkey better without reading a library full of books or spending hours on the internet, this is the book for you.
Finkel covers all the hot topics (Armenia, Cyprus, Kurds, Fetullah Gulen, Ergenekon), key social issues (role of women, headscarves, homosexuality, role of Islam), history (Ottomans, Ataturk), economics, politics including the role of the military, and Turkey’s place in the world.
The format of the book, a question-answer pseudo-dialogue, makes it easy to read and use as a reference guide, but the downside is that the book loses the narrative character and personal touch that make other books on Turkey a bit more enjoyable as a reading experience.
As the book reviews on this blog show, I have read quite a bit about Turkey, but I did not find this book overly repetitive. Being the newest addition to this genre, Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know deals with issues (like Ergenekon) that other books missed. Turkey is changing so fast that the newest book adds much to the conversation. Also, his “Further Reading” section is excellent giving me a few new books and blogs for my personal reading list.
Overall, I can confidently recommend Finkel’s latest work. If you are looking for an introduction to all the important issues regarding Turkey, this is the beginning of your search.
Are you interested in other Turkey-related books? Check this out:
29+ Books Related to Turkey: A Reading List with notes
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