The Horrors of Adana: Revolution and Violence in the Early Twentieth Century
Der Matossian, Bedross.
Stanford University Press, 2022, 360 pages. ISBN 9781503608177.
In April 1909, twin massacres shook the province of Adana, located in the southern Anatolia region of modern-day Turkey, killing more than 20,000 Armenians and 2,000 Muslims. The central Ottoman government failed to prosecute the main culprits, a miscarriage of justice that would have repercussions for years to come. Despite the significance of these events and the extent of violence and destruction, the Adana Massacres are often left out of historical narratives. The Horrors of Adana offers one of the first close examinations of these events, analyzing sociopolitical and economic transformations that culminated in a cataclysm of violence.
Bedross Der Matossian provides voice and agency to all involved in the massacres—perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Drawing on primary sources in a dozen languages, he develops an interdisciplinary approach to understand the rumors and emotions, public spheres and humanitarian interventions that together informed this complex event. Ultimately, through consideration of the Adana Massacres in micro-historical detail, this book offers an important macrocosmic understanding of ethnic violence, illuminating how and why ordinary people can become perpetrators.