The Fall of the Ottomans

The Fall of the Ottomans

The Great War in the Middle East

In 1914 the Ottoman Empire was depleted of men and resources after years of war against Balkan nationalist and Italian forces. But in the aftermath of the assassination in Sarajevo, the powers of Europe were sliding inexorably toward war, and not even the Middle East could escape the vast and enduring consequences of one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. The Great War spelled the end of the Ottomans, unleashing powerful forces that would forever change the face of the Middle East.

In The Fall of the Ottomans, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan brings the First World War and its immediate aftermath in the Middle East to vivid life, uncovering the often ignored story of the region's crucial role in the conflict. Bolstered by German money, arms, and military advisors, the Ottomans took on the Russian, British, and French forces, and tried to provoke Jihad against the Allies in their Muslim colonies. Unlike the static killing fields of the Western Front, the war in the Middle East was fast-moving and unpredictable, with the Turks inflicting decisive defeats on the Entente in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, and Gaza before the tide of battle turned in the Allies' favor. The great cities of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and, finally, Damascus fell to invading armies before the Ottomans agreed to an armistice in 1918.

The postwar settlement led to the partition of Ottoman lands between the victorious powers, and laid the groundwork for the ongoing conflicts that continue to plague the modern Arab world. A sweeping narrative of battles and political intrigue from Gallipoli to Arabia, The Fall of the Ottomans is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Great War and the making of the modern Middle East.

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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Military / World War I

On Sale: March 10th 2015

Price: $35

Page Count: 512

ISBN-13: 9780465023073

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New York Times Book Review
“[An] intricately worked but very readable account of the Ottoman theocracy's demise.... Gripping sections describe the British-led advance on Jerusalem in late 1917, leading to the holy city's capture in time for Christmas. This is an extraordinary tale and Rogan recounts it well, making clear both the stiffness of the Turkish defense and the ingenuity of Britain's tactics.”

Max Hastings, Sunday Times (UK)
“Rogan has written an impressively sound and fair-minded account of the fall of the Ottoman Empire.”

Spectator (UK)
“[A] masterly history of the Ottoman empire in its final years.... Eugene Rogan has written a meticulously researched, panoramic and engrossing history. The book is essential reading for understanding the evolution of the modern Middle East and the root causes of nearly all the conflicts that now plague the area. The Fall of the Ottomans is an altogether splendid work of historical writing.”

New York Review of Books
“Admirable and thoroughly researched.... A comprehensive history of World War I in the Middle East.”

The Times (UK)
“[A] comprehensive, lucid and revealing history.... This book will surely become the definitive history of the war.”
Guardian (UK)
“Compared to the western front, the Middle East was a sideshow for all but those who called it home. Rogan has rightly put these Turks, Armenians and Arabs at the centre of his account.”

Daily Beast
The Fall of the Ottomans is a remarkably lucid and accessible work of history.... [Rogan] seems equally at home explaining the parameters of Ottoman grand strategy and the tensions of the British-Arab Alliance as he is at conjuring up the unique challenges of maneuver warfare in the Sinai and Palestine, or the brutal stalemate in the Gallipoli trenches. Telling quotations from diplomats, field commanders, and ordinary soldiers of all the combatants lend the narrative a powerful sense of immediacy.”

Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog
“A deluge of books came out last year to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. These were two of the best. These sweeping, well-researched books cover similar ground, but present their accounts with very different points of emphasis and narrative styles.”
Rashid Khalidi, author of Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East
“This book opens up a window on vital chapters in the shaping of the Middle East as well as the history of the Great War, bringing together vivid personal details with a broad historical panorama of human suffering and heroism, the incompetence and folly of the general staffs, and the scheming of the great powers.”

Margaret MacMillan, author of The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
“Thoroughly researched and elegantly written by one of the leading experts on the region, The Fall of the Ottomans reminds us that the 1914-18 conflict was truly a world war with huge and continuing consequences. No one is better equipped than Eugene Rogan to handle the course and impact of the war in the Middle East and he does a superb job, telling a complex and multifaceted story with great clarity, understanding, and compassion. This timely and important work restores the Middle East to its rightful place in the history of the Great War.”
Mustafa Aksakal, Chair of Modern Turkish Studies and Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University
“Eugene Rogan has given us an absorbing history of the war's principal military and political battles in the Middle East through the eyes of those who fought them. Weaving together accounts of the horrors of life in the trenches with those on the home front, he exposes the deadly dynamic emerging between the two, from the disastrous Ottoman attempt to invade Russia to the calamity of the Armenian deportations, from the British invasion to the Arab revolt and the Ottoman Empire's final defeat and partition.”

Alexander Watson, author of Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I
“A fantastic, readable, and much needed study of the most chronically neglected of all of the Great War's participants: the Ottoman Empire. Informative and enlightening.”

Ali Allawi, author of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace
“Eugene Rogan has written a meticulously researched, panoramic, and engrossing history of the final years of the Ottoman Empire. This book is essential reading for understanding the evolution of the modern Middle East and the root causes of nearly all the conflicts that now plague the area. An altogether splendid work of historical writing.”
“Rogan draws on previously untranslated Arab and Turkish sources to give Western readers indispensable new perspectives on the Great War in the Middle East and its lasting effects on the region.... [A] rich narrative.... Required reading for students of WWI and the modern Middle East.”

Michigan War Studies Review
“Rogan tells a complex story enriched by many revealing vignettes, drawing much of his information from Ottoman Turkish and Arab sources little known in the west. His judicious and detailed account, keen sense of drama, and fluid prose make this book a joy to read.... [The Fall of the Ottomans] is the best single-volume account of the most tumultuous and least understood fronts of the Great War.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers
“Rogan handles the tricky subjects of jihad, secularism, Arab nationalism and Turkish paranoia about a possible Armenian fifth column with historical precision and a keen awareness of their implications for the modern world.”

Library Journal
“[A] well-researched and well-written book.... A much-needed addition to World War I scholarship that is recommended for anyone interested in that conflict and the history of the Middle East or Turkey.”
The Telegraph Best Books of 2015 So Far

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
“Rogan offers an intricately worked but very readable account of a theocracy's demise.”

Wall Street Journal
“The book is not only exact and readable but also has the elements of a thriller and thus is all the more remarkable in view of its thoroughness in covering a linguistically and historically difficult subject.”

Economist, One of the Best Books of the Year
“How a multinational Muslim empire was destroyed by the first world war, by a historian of the 20th century who is director of the Middle East Centre at Oxford University.”

“[An] assured account.... The book stands alongside the best histories. Mr. Rogan ably weaves the thinking and doings of the politicians and generals with their impact on the soldiers and civilian populations. He sketches many revealing vignettes.”
Washington Times
“[Rogan's] account is geopolitical and military writing at its best – taut, anecdotal and extraordinarily researched. A tangled story, to be sure, one that both commands and rewards the reader's attention.”

The National (Dubai)
“[A] landmark study.... This is a formidable narrative history, written with great verve and empathy. Through its meticulous scholarship and its deft weaving together of the social, economic, diplomatic and military history of this neglected front, The Fall of the Ottomans provides an engrossing picture of a deadly conflict that proved catastrophic for the peoples of the region.”

Prospect Magazine (UK)
“This is narrative history at its very best: disciplined, well-paced, judicious and spiked with detail, character and incident.”

Middle East Journal
“[A]n engaging, at times even gripping, narrative..... The Fall of the Ottomans combines expert knowledge with fine writing and brisk narration to provide for the first time a compelling overview of the Ottoman theater in World War I. Nothing else approaches it.”
Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“[A] timely and capacious history which leaves the over-trodden Flanders mud and football truces in favor of the various campaigns – at best imperfectly understood, at worst woefully unfamiliar – which the Allies waged in the Middle East. It's in the former Ottoman lands, traumatised by war, sectarianism and repression, that the legacies of the Great War continue to be grievously felt.... Here's a book whose instructive geopolitical relevance should be immediately apparent.... [A] compelling and brilliant book.”

Washington Independent Review of Books
“[A] fresh and meticulous portrait of the Ottoman Empire: modern and modernizing, then declining, and eventually kaput.”

Middle East Policy
“[A] brilliant book that combines the academic rigor one expects from a serious work of history and a fluid writing style that makes it an enjoyable read.... The Fall of the Ottomans offers a comprehensive history of one of the most tumultuous and least understood fronts of the Great War.... Rogan's narrative is both precise and unhurried, while at the same time capturing the urgency and drama of events on the ground.”
Publishers Weekly
“[A] sweeping and nuanced work.... Rogan's multifaceted analysis touches on everything from the use of Islamist discourse in political movements to the treatment of minorities in the modern Middle East.”

“[A] well-researched, evenhanded treatment of the Ottomans' role in World War I.... An illuminating work that offers new understanding to the troubled history of this key geopolitical region.”

Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
“This is a gripping, masterful account of World War One in the Middle East from the vantage point of the Ottoman Empire. It uses the full panoply of primary sources in Turkish, Arabic, and European languages to brilliantly illuminating effect. Combining magisterial scholarship with a keen sense of drama and lively narrative style, it tells a grim story but a fascinating one. There is a great deal of new material here which not only brings events alive but also leads to fresh assessments of all the participants in the Great War but especially Arabs and Turks. If you want to understand the underlying causes of conflict and violence in the Middle East in the last century, you will not find a better book.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Mr. Rogan's presentation of a crucial part of that history, Turkeys' role in the First World War, is a painless, colorful and pleasurable means of getting a decent hold on it.... This book sets out history that is definitely worth mastering to help understand the present.”

Open Letters Monthly
“Fiercely readable.... In a series of fast-moving and very skillfully-written chapters, Rogan describes in great detail the politics and personalities of the Ottoman side of WWI.”

Independent (UK)
“Personal stories drawn from diaries and memoirs enliven Eugene Rogan's satisfyingly straightforward narrative.”

“Readers of his previous work, The Arabs, will know how comfortably [Eugene Rogan] handles multiple themes, ambitious narratives and a crowd of characters.... Even the familiar has resonance, such as General Maude's insistence to the battered people of Baghdad that his soldiers were ‘liberators'.... That resonance adds relevance to this thorough and absorbing book, because it reminds us that the postwar Middle East settlements were as flawed as the conditions imposed on Germany, and that in turn explains why the land they fought over then is still being contested today.”
New Yorker
“This engrossing history unfolds in the Middle Eastern theatre of the First World War, capturing the complex array of battles, brutalities, and alliances that brought down the six-hundred-year-old Ottoman Empire.... Rogan argues that the empire's ultimate demise was the result not of losing the war but of a clumsily negotiated peace. His balanced narrative unearths many seeds of current conflicts.”

Wall Street Journal
“[The Fall of the Ottomans] has elements of a thriller.... To have written a page-turner as well as an accurate and comprehensive history of the Ottoman struggle for survival is a remarkable achievement.”

Mark Mazower, Financial Times
“[A] remarkably readable, judicious and well-researched account of the Ottoman war in Anatolia and the Arab provinces. The Fall of the Ottomans is especially good on showing the fighting across multiple fronts and from both sides of the lines, and it draws effectively upon the papers, memoirs and diaries of soldiers and civilians.”