100 books like Angry Nation

By Kerem Oktem,

Here are 100 books that Angry Nation fans have personally recommended if you like Angry Nation. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Formation of Kurdishness in Turkey: Political Violence, Fear and Pain

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From my list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Ceren Sengül Why did Ceren love this book?

This book is a brilliant example of how to properly conduct an anthropological ethnography amongst Kurds and to use the ethnographic data whilst presenting your argument.

I read and reviewed this book when it was first published in 2014, one year after I had finished my own ethnographic fieldwork across different cities in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan for my PhD research that I eventually turned it into the book I advertise here.

I could not help but feel impressed and influenced by the meticulous attention to detail in the ethnographic work.

This detailed work, combined with the tragic personal narratives of the interviewees, makes this an intriguing book to get a glimpse into what being a Kurd means in current Turkey. 

By Ramazan Aras,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Formation of Kurdishness in Turkey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Formation of Kurdishness in Turkey examines political violence, the politics of fear and the Kurdish experience of pain through an analysis of life stories, personal narratives and testimonies of Kurdish subjects in contemporary Turkey. It traces the physical and psychological impacts of the war between the state security forces and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) guerrillas in the last three decades, in Kurdish populated areas in the south-eastern part of Turkey.

Focusing on the instrumentalization of violence, the ensuing and manufactured culture of fear, gendered experiences of state violence, pain, incarceration, and corporeal punishment, Ramazan Aras argues that these…


Book cover of Islam, Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who is a Turk?

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From my list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Ceren Sengül Why did Ceren love this book?

I read this book while I was writing my PhD thesis, and it has had a tremendous impact in shaping the historical chapter of my thesis, i.e. how the Kemalist Turkey of the interwar period viewed its citizens and how ‘the ideal Turk’ was constructed.

I have also cited many of the historical archives that were presented in this book.

If there are scholars and people who have an interest in Turkey with no earlier background in Turkey, this book is a brilliant introduction to understand why Kemalism, the founding ideology of the Turkish Republic, has an obsession with Kurds but also with other non-Turkish citizens. 

By Soner Cagaptay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Islam, Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is commonly believed that during the interwar period, Kemalist secularism successfully eliminated religion from the public sphere in Turkey, leaving Turkish national identity devoid of religious content. However, through its examination of the impact of the Ottoman millet system on Turkish and Balkan nationalisms, this book presents a different view point. Cagaptay demonstrates that the legacy of the Ottomon millet system which divided the Ottoman population into religious compartments called millets, shaped Turkey's understanding of nationalism in the interwar period. Providing a compelling examination of why and how religion shapes national identity in Turkey and the Balkans the book…


Book cover of The Kurdish Nationalist Movements in Turkey, 1980 to 2011: Oppression, Resistance, War, Education in the Mother Tongue and Relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From my list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Ceren Sengül Why did Ceren love this book?

This book is a very good source to understand the more recent history of the Turkish state and Kurds, up until 2011 when the book was published. 2011 is also the year when I first started my PhD, so this was actually one of the first books I read when I started my PhD, and I also reviewed this book.

The more monumental events in the recent history of Turkey such as the Ergenekon trials are explained here through their relations to the Kurdish nationalist movements.

Soner Çağaptay’s book that I have recommended above and this book can be read back to back to get an up-to-date understanding of why the relations between the Turkish state and Kurds are the way they are. 

Book cover of Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism versus Nation-Building States: Collected Articles

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From my list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Ceren Sengül Why did Ceren love this book?

It is safe to say that this book was like a holy book to me when I was doing my MSc and during my early PhD years.

Martin van Bruinessen is a scholar that everyone who has an interest in Kurdish studies should be familiar with, and this book, which is a collection of his earlier articles, is a good introduction to get acquainted with Kurds and their history.

Even though the articles in this book date back to the 1980s and to the 1990s, it is a classic book for those who want to familiarise themselves with Kurds.

The articles here are not only about Kurds of Turkey but also those of Iran and Iraq. 

By Martin van Bruinessen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism versus Nation-Building States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of articles by Martin van Bruinessen on Kurds, Kurdish history and identity from the perspective of nationalism and nation-building in the Middle East.


Book cover of War and State Formation in Syria: Cemal Pasha's Governorate During World War I, 1914-1917

Cigdem Oguz Author Of Moral Crisis in the Ottoman Empire: Society, Politics, and Gender During WWI

From my list on the Middle East during the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Studying unexplored topics has always fascinated me as a historian. Some overlooked aspects in history might shed a new light on many things that we consider obvious. I studied the Ottoman home front during the First World War from an unusual perspective by taking up the concept of moral crisis. Until very recently, talking about the First World War in the Middle East meant talking about only the European side of the story such as the famous “Lawrence of Arabia” and/or only political events that were attached to the Anglo-British rivalry. Instead, we need a “new” history of this watershed event that takes the local aspects into consideration. After all, the Great War was the most remarkable moment in the history of the Middle East which shaped its modern dynamics.

Cigdem's book list on the Middle East during the First World War

Cigdem Oguz Why did Cigdem love this book?

Based on a wide array of archival sources, the book discusses the Ottoman governance of Greater Syria during the First World War. During the war, the Ottoman government-appointed Cemal Pasa, one of the chief names of the ruling Committee of Union and Progress, as the commander of the Fourth Army and the military governor of Ottoman Arab provinces to lead a campaign against in the British-held Suez Canal. However, in addition to the military aim of this appointment, there was also a political and social one that can briefly be summarized as further centralization of the state through the “iron fist” of the governor. The book presents us the power struggle in the region between the Ottoman government, Arab leaders, Zionists, and the Central Powers (the allies of the Ottoman Empire during the war) who attempted to increase their influence in the region after the British and French were declared…

By M. Talha Çiçek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War and State Formation in Syria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the First World War, Cemal Pasha attempted to establish direct control over Syrian and thereby reaffirm Ottoman authority there through various policies of control, including the abolishment of local intermediaries.

Elaborating on these Ottoman policies of control, this book assesses Cemal Pasha's policies towards different political groups in Syrian society, including; Arabists, Zionists, Christian clergymen and Armenian immigrants. The author then goes on to analyse Pasha's educational activities, the conscription of Syrians- both Muslim and Christian, and the reconstruction of the major Syrian cities, assessing how these policies contributed to his attempt to create ideal Ottoman citizens.

An important…


Book cover of The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923

Wayne H. Bowen Author Of Undoing Saddam: From Occupation to Sovereignty in Northern Iraq

From my list on the history of the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

My primary field in history is Spain, over which I have published six books. However, I became interested in the Middle East when the US Army deployed me to Iraq in 2004. Although I had taught the history of the region, experiencing war and reconstruction for myself, and spending time in Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar made the Middle East come alive to me. I wrote Undoing Saddam, my war diary, during my Iraq tour. I followed up that work with a textbook on Arabia, articles on the Ottoman Empire, and plans for future projects on the region, both on its own and in relation to early modern and modern Spain.  

Wayne's book list on the history of the Middle East

Wayne H. Bowen Why did Wayne love this book?

It may seem odd to recommend a book focused on a fifteen-year period, in the midst of a region that boasts many thousands of years of history. However, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire echoed across the Middle East in ways we are just beginning to understand. Having traveled to Turkey and many nations in this region, I’ve encountered historic sites, political quandaries, border conflicts, and ethnic troubles that can only be understood with the end of the Ottomans in mind. McMeekin does an exemplary job of viewing the Ottoman ending in the context of local challenges, global warfare, rising nationalism, and economic pressures in all directions. I had many “so that’s why that is the way it is” moments, and also enjoyed the gripping read.

By Sean McMeekin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ottoman Endgame as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An outstanding history ... one of the best writers on the First World War' Simon Sebag Montefiore

Shortlisted for the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature

The Ottoman Endgame is the first, and definitive, single-volume history of the Ottoman empire's agonising war for survival. Beginning with Italy's invasion of Ottoman Tripoli in September 1911, the Empire was in a permanent state of emergency, with hardly a frontier not under direct threat. Assailed by enemies on all sides, the Empire-which had for generations been assumed to be a rotten shell-proved to be strikingly resilient, beating off major attacks at Gallipoli…


Book cover of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon

Khalil F. Osman Author Of Sectarianism in Iraq: The Making of State and Nation Since 1920

From my list on sectarianism in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a diverse work experience, having taught political science, and worked as a journalist and UN official. My interest in sectarianism in the Arab world grew from my work as a journalist covering Middle Eastern and Iraqi affairs and as a UN official in Iraq. Working in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion, I witnessed firsthand how the sectarian violence that gripped Iraq highlighted the failure of social integration in nurturing a national identity. Scholarly work on sectarianism in the region was focused on Lebanon. In addressing this scholarly gap, I combined my academic training in political science, extensive knowledge of Islamic history, and decades-long fieldwork and life experiences in the region.

Khalil's book list on sectarianism in the Middle East

Khalil F. Osman Why did Khalil love this book?

Drawing on a vast array of primary archival sources and secondary writings, Ussama Makdisi provides an original analytical historical account of the origins of sectarianism in Lebanon. He traces the roots of the atavistic sectarian violence that gripped Ottoman Mount Lebanon in 1860. His narrative refutes widespread arguments making a case for the primordial nature of sectarian identities in Lebanon. Instead, he argues that sectarianism in Lebanon is a byproduct of modernity and modernization. Makdisi shows that sectarianism in Lebanon is a modern nineteenth-century phenomenon linked to the confluence of various historical developments, including the introduction of Ottoman reforms known as Tanzimat, diffusion of European ideas of nationalism, the Ottoman Empire’s integration into the world capitalist market, and colonial meddling in the internal affairs of the Sick Man of Europe.

By Ussama Makdisi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Culture of Sectarianism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Focusing on Ottoman Lebanon, Ussama Makdisi shows how sectarianism was a manifestation of modernity that transcended the physical boundaries of a particular country. His study challenges those who have viewed sectarian violence as an Islamic response to westernization or simply as a product of social and economic inequities among religious groups. The religious violence of the nineteenth century, which culminated in sectarian mobilizations and massacres in 1860, was a complex, multilayered, subaltern expression of modernization, he says, not a primordial reaction to it. Makdisi argues that sectarianism represented a deliberate mobilization of religious identities for political and social purposes. The…


Book cover of Memed, My Hawk

Christiane Bird Author Of A Thousand Sighs, a Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan

From my list on classics about the world of the Kurds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first became interested in the Kurds during a 1998 journey I took to Iran to work on my first book about the Middle East, Neither East nor West. While there, I traveled to Sanandaj, Iran’s unofficial Kurdish capital, where I was immediately struck by how different the area seemed from the rest of the Islamic Republic—heartbreaking in its lonesome beauty, and defiant. Despite a large number of Revolutionary Guards on the streets, the men swaggered and women strode. These people are not cowed, I thought—no wonder they make the Islamic government nervous. I had to find out more.

Christiane's book list on classics about the world of the Kurds

Christiane Bird Why did Christiane love this book?

A Kurd born in Turkey in 1923, Kemal was a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature for years, and this book is the real deal, a classic novel of adventure and heroism that has been compared to works by Faulkner. It’s not overtly about the Kurds—the ethnicity of its main character, Memed, is not mentioned—and yet it is, as Memed is a rebel who refuses to submit to authoritarian rule and risks everything for freedom. Fast-paced and gripping, yet also lyrical and meditative, the book is set in southeastern Turkey—i.e., Kurdistan—and its descriptions of the land are unforgettable. 

By Yashar Kemal, Edouard Roditi (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memed, My Hawk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Memed grows up a serf to a vicious overlord on the thistle-clad plains of Turkey's Taurus region. When his plan to escape is dashed, and the young woman he loves murdered, Memed makes for the mountains to become an outlaw. Before long he has transformed from a young rebel to an infamous bandit, the scourge of corrupt oppressors and hero to the poor. With vividness and simplicity, Kemal's classic novel evokes the fierce beauty of his country and the struggles of its oppressed people.


Book cover of Dervish: Travels in Modern Turkey

Lisa Morrow Author Of Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries

From my list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul and throughout the country, even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on the heart & soul of Turkey and its people

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

Dervish was published more than twenty years ago, but the Turks about whom Kelsey writes, archaeologists (and others) in search of the Ark, human rights activists, famous pop stars both straight and transsexual, Kurdish insurgents, desperately poor villagers and aspiring politicians, are still in existence today. Kelsey captures the contradictions inherent to life in modern Turkey, revealing a people as diverse as its varied geographical regions.

By Tim Kelsey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dervish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unlike most writers, who give a European eye-view of a Turkey that mourns all that is lost, and consider it in the light of a holiday resort, this book explores a Turkey which is seeking out its own identity and which is beginning to realise it s not simply a bridge between East and West. The lowlife of tranvestite nightclubs, the problems of heritage, the theatre, the clash between Eastern and Western Turkey, tribes and the current civil war between Turkish military and Kurdish separatists, the booming heroin trade and cultural intolerance all form part of the book, bringing to…


Book cover of The Mask of Dimitrios

Andrew Kaplan Author Of Blue Madagascar

From my list on spy thrillers that are about more than spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never planned to be a spy thriller writer. One day an editor suggested I write genre fiction. “Pick a genre you read just for fun,” he said. For me, that was spy novels. I had some background (military intelligence, journalist in Europe, Africa, etc.) and John Le Carré had shown that spy novels could be serious fiction. An encounter in the Amazon jungle sparked my first spy thriller, Hour of the Assassins. Then came Scorpion, Homeland, and the rest. What’s the attraction? Intelligence agents lie better than most because their lives depend on it. But if you dig hard enough, you get small truths. Big ones too.

Andrew's book list on spy thrillers that are about more than spies

Andrew Kaplan Why did Andrew love this book?

Eric Ambler was the first author to write with realism and authenticity about the world of spies. His work often features ordinary people who are not criminals or professional spies, but who suddenly find themselves caught up in that murky world. In this novel, while in Turkey, mystery writer Charles Latimer meets Colonel Haki, who shows him the body of a notorious criminal, Dimitrios, in the Istanbul morgue. Intrigued and sensing a story, Latimer investigates Dimitrios’ career, which will turn out to be a lot more intriguing and dangerous than anything he bargained for. Ambler’s thrillers keep you on the edge and this one, which includes a ride on the Orient Express, will have you furiously turning the pages. Dimitrios set the standard for every spy thriller that followed. 

By Eric Ambler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mask of Dimitrios as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Turkey, politics, and the Kurds?

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