Talaat Pasha: Father of Modern Turkey, Architect of Genocide
Princeton University Press, 2018, 552 pages. ISBN 9780691157627.
Talaat Pasha (1874–1921) led the triumvirate that ruled the late Ottoman Empire during World War I and is arguably the father of modern Turkey. He was also the architect of the Armenian Genocide, which would result in the systematic extermination of more than a million people, and which set the stage for a century that would witness atrocities on a scale never imagined. Here is the first biography in English of the revolutionary figure who not only prepared the way for Atatürk and the founding of the republic in 1923, but who shaped the modern world as well.
In this explosive book, Hans-Lukas Kieser provides a mesmerizing portrait of a man who maintained power through a potent blend of the new Turkish ethno-nationalism, the political Islam of former Sultan Abdulhamid II, and a readiness to employ radical “solutions” and violence. From Talaat’s role in the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 to his exile from Turkey and assassination — a sensation in Weimar Germany—Kieser restores the Ottoman drama to the heart of world events. He shows how Talaat wielded far more power than previously realized, making him the de facto ruler of the empire. He brings wartime Istanbul vividly to life as a thriving diplomatic hub, and reveals how Talaat’s cataclysmic actions would reverberate across the twentieth century.
In this major work of scholarship, Kieser tells the story of the brilliant and merciless politician who stood at the twilight of empire and the dawn of the age of genocide.