The Charity of War

By Melanie S. Tanielian,

Book cover of The Charity of War: Famine, Humanitarian Aid, and World War I in the Middle East

Book description

With the exception of a few targeted aerial bombardments of the city's port, Beirut and Mount Lebanon did not see direct combat in World War I. Yet civilian casualties in this part of the Ottoman Empire reached shocking heights, possibly numbering half a million people. No war, in its usual…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Charity of War as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I appreciated how Tanielian so sensitively and expertly described the human tragedy of World War I in the Middle East.

She demonstrates how the Ottoman homefront was affected by wartime politics, disease, and ecological disaster. When you read this book, you will see the importance of the civilian side of living through a global conflict. It really was a lived experience that continues in the memory of those living in the region.

From Michelle's list on World War I and the Middle East.

During the war, Beirut and Mount Lebanon were heavily impacted by a famine because of several factors, including the Allied blockade of the Mediterranean, bad harvests, heat waves, shortage of workers, and a destructive locust invasion. As a result, even though the area did not witness any battles on its territory, hundreds of thousands of people died due to famine and disease. Fiction or real, the horrors reached to a degree that “mothers eating their children” stories carved in the collective memory of the war. Drawing on the reality of famine, the book deals with how war relief and welfare…

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