100 books like Curzon

By Harold Nicolson,

Here are 100 books that Curzon fans have personally recommended if you like Curzon. 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 They All Made Peace - What Is Peace? The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the New Imperial Order

Hans-Lukas Kieser Author Of When Democracy Died: The Middle East's Enduring Peace of Lausanne

From my list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

My encounter with young refugees and former political prisoners from Turkey in Basel in the early 1980s decisively oriented me as a future historian toward the Middle East. My studies led me to discover the end of the Ottoman Empire and the post-1918 efforts to bring peace and a new order, both globally and nationally, as a highly under-researched, but essential topic.

Hans-Lukas' book list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East

Hans-Lukas Kieser Why did Hans-Lukas love this book?

This volume makes clear that without knowing the Lausanne Conference we cannot understand how the Middle East became the crisis-ridden hotspot it is today.

Carefully prepared, this is a reader-friendly history book with an excellent introduction. Its main theme is the challenge of world peace after the First World War which was followed by wars in Anatolian Turkey.

In Lausanne, diplomacy endorsed victorious ultranationalism and dictatorship. It gave factually up the League of Nations’ project of international peace by law, not force.

Twenty experts develop a rich variety of perspectives on the pivotal moment that was the 1922-3 Lausanne Conference for Europe and the Middle East. 

By Jonathan Conlin (editor), Ozan Ozavci (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They All Made Peace - What Is Peace? The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the New Imperial Order as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne may have been the last of the post-World War One peace settlements, but it was very different from Versailles. Like its German and Austro-Hungarian allies, the defeated Ottoman Empire had initially been presented with a dictated peace in 1920. In just two years, however, the Kemalist insurgency turned defeat into victory, enabling Turkey to claim its place as the first sovereign state in the Middle East. Meanwhile those communities who had lived side-by-side with Turks inside the Ottoman Empire struggled to assert their own sovereignty, jostled between the Soviet Union and the resurgence of empire…


Book cover of The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire

Hans-Lukas Kieser Author Of When Democracy Died: The Middle East's Enduring Peace of Lausanne

From my list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

My encounter with young refugees and former political prisoners from Turkey in Basel in the early 1980s decisively oriented me as a future historian toward the Middle East. My studies led me to discover the end of the Ottoman Empire and the post-1918 efforts to bring peace and a new order, both globally and nationally, as a highly under-researched, but essential topic.

Hans-Lukas' book list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East

Hans-Lukas Kieser Why did Hans-Lukas love this book?

I highly appreciate this book. Based on meticulous historical research, it has contributed to rethinking and reappraising the long widely disqualified League of Nations.

The failure of the League of Nations’ peace project had been sealed at the Lausanne Conference a hundred years ago, and the League’s Covenant did no longer figure in the Lausanne Treaty. But the need of a convincing global and democratic peace project is today no less topical than it was after the Great War, before the rise of the Nazis.

By Susan Pedersen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the end of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference saw a battle over the future of empire. The victorious allied powers wanted to annex the Ottoman territories and German colonies they had occupied; Woodrow Wilson and a groundswell of anti-imperialist activism stood in their way. France, Belgium, Japan and the British dominions reluctantly agreed to an Anglo-American proposal to hold and administer those allied conquests under "mandate" from the new League of Nations. In the end, fourteen mandated territories were set up across the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. Against all odds, these disparate and far-flung…


Book cover of In the Land of Blood and Tears: Experiences in Mesopotamia During the World War (1914-1918)

Hans-Lukas Kieser Author Of When Democracy Died: The Middle East's Enduring Peace of Lausanne

From my list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

My encounter with young refugees and former political prisoners from Turkey in Basel in the early 1980s decisively oriented me as a future historian toward the Middle East. My studies led me to discover the end of the Ottoman Empire and the post-1918 efforts to bring peace and a new order, both globally and nationally, as a highly under-researched, but essential topic.

Hans-Lukas' book list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East

Hans-Lukas Kieser Why did Hans-Lukas love this book?

This is a personal account from the decade preceding the Lausanne Treaty.

Jakob Künzler and his wife were stationed in the Swiss Hospital in Urfa, Mesopotamia, and witnessed the destruction of the Armenians at close hand. As disturbing as is Künzler’s sober report, at the same time it is a declaration of love for a turbulent land of different languages, religions, and the people who live there.

By Jakob Künzler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Land of Blood and Tears as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presents information regarding the Armenian massacres in Urfa, Ottoman Turkey during the World War (1914-1918). the fate of the Armenian widows and orphans as well as author's description of his work in the German Orient Mission hospital, deportations of the Armenians as well as the Kurds, requisitions of the Armenian property by the Turkish government officials and citizens.


Book cover of Butterfly of the Night

Hans-Lukas Kieser Author Of When Democracy Died: The Middle East's Enduring Peace of Lausanne

From my list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

My encounter with young refugees and former political prisoners from Turkey in Basel in the early 1980s decisively oriented me as a future historian toward the Middle East. My studies led me to discover the end of the Ottoman Empire and the post-1918 efforts to bring peace and a new order, both globally and nationally, as a highly under-researched, but essential topic.

Hans-Lukas' book list on anti-democracy in Turkey & the Middle East

Hans-Lukas Kieser Why did Hans-Lukas love this book?

This very impressive documentary novel tells the true story of a Kurdish mother and child surviving famine after the massacre of Kurdish Alevis in Dersim, Turkey.

Most scholars today consider the 1937-8 military campaign in that region in Northeastern Anatolia a genocide. It was the last one in a series that accompanied the making of the post-Ottoman Turkish nation-state, whose birth the Lausanne Treaty had certified in 1923.

By Haydar Karataş, Caroline Stockford (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Haydar Karataş, the author, of Gece Kelebeği - Perperık-a Söe (Butterfly of the Night) now lives in exile in Zurich. The book's child-narrator, his mother, was swept up in a series of tragic historical event in the mountainous region of Dersim in Northeastern Anatolia. Dersim (renamed Tunceli in 1935). The area was 90 km east-west and 70 km north-south and, in the 1930s, it had a population of nearly 80,000 people, most of them involved agriculture.

Dersim was at odds with the politico-cultural landscape of 1930s Turkey, whose leaders wanted "a country with one language, one mentality, and unity of…


Book cover of The Ottomans 1700-1923: An Empire Besieged

Caroline Finkel Author Of Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire

From my list on the Ottoman Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish Ottoman historian who has lived half my life in Istanbul. Realising that the archive-based research of my PhD and after was read by too few, I wrote Osman's Dream, which has been translated into several languages and is read generally, as well as by students. I am fascinated by the 'where' of history, and follow historical routes the slow way, by foot or on horseback, to reach the sites where events occurred. That's the thing about living where the history you study happened: its traces and artefacts are all around, every day. I hope I have brought a sense of Ottoman place to Osman's Dream.

Caroline's book list on the Ottoman Empire

Caroline Finkel Why did Caroline love this book?

Hot off the press, and building on the success of Aksan's earlier volume on the later Ottoman empire, this book charts the transformation of this once-formidable state into a colonial client of Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. It traces the lives of friends and foes of the Ottomans who witnessed the rise and fall of a constitutional experiment in an era of shrinking borders, global consciousness, ethno-religious nationalism, and revolutionary fervour. The narrative's primary focus is on those who negotiated with, fought for, defended, and finally challenged the sultan and the system in its final days just prior to WWI, resulting in a legacy of international relations and communal violence that continues into the present.   

By Virginia Aksan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ottomans 1700-1923 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The chronology has been extended to 1918 to cover the end of the Ottoman Empire which provides students with the whole picture of the rise and fall of the Empire.

An introductory chapter giving an overview of the whole period, perfect for lecturers to assign as an introductory reading to their course, enabling students of all levels and understanding to be on the same level for their course.

More on society and how war and militarisation affected Ottoman society which provides students with the social as well as the military history giving a fuller picture of the period.


Book cover of The Making of the Modern Middle East: A Personal History

Vassily Klimentov Author Of A Slow Reckoning: The USSR, the Afghan Communists, and Islam

From my list on the modern Middle East and Afghanistan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the Cold War and early post-Cold War period, focusing on Soviet/ Russian foreign policy in Afghanistan and in the Middle East in the 1970s and the 1980s. These are exciting topics on which an increasing number of new documents are released each year. I have a research project and lecture about these issues at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. But academia is my second career. Before my Ph.D., I worked as an aid worker, including for two years in the Middle East. I was in the region during the height of the Syrian crisis, notably running humanitarian multi-sector needs assessments.

Vassily's book list on the modern Middle East and Afghanistan

Vassily Klimentov Why did Vassily love this book?

I bought Jeremy Bowen’s book by chance as I searched for books about the Middle East. I wanted something different from the traditional (and sometimes a bit difficult to read) academic nonfiction book. This book appealed to me because it was written in a journalistic style and because it was as much a book about recent history as one about Bowen’s own travels and encounters in the Middle East. Well, I was not disappointed.

I really enjoyed reading Bowen’s recollections of his time in the Middle East and critical reflections on great powers’ involvement there. That is a book I felt gave a good sense of how the West has mismanaged its policies in the region during the past fifty years. 

By Jeremy Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of the Modern Middle East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Spectator Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book of the Year
'An illuminating and riveting read' - Jonathan Dimbleby

Jeremy Bowen, the International Editor of the BBC, has been covering the Middle East since 1989 and is uniquely placed to explain its complex past and its troubled present.

In The Making of the Modern Middle East - in part based on his acclaimed podcast, 'Our Man in the Middle East' - Bowen takes us on a journey across the Middle East and through its history. He meets ordinary men and women on the front line, their leaders, whether…


Book cover of Five Years in Turkey

Eugene Rogan Author Of The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

From my list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professional historian of the Middle East, I’ve long recognized WWI as a vital turning point in the region’s history, when the ancient Ottoman Empire fell and the modern states of the Middle East took its place. Based in Oxford, I am particularly aware of this university’s role in shaping so many of those whose book captured the British experience of the Ottoman Front. But there’s also an element of family history behind my fascination, as in following the story of my great-uncle’s death in Gallipoli in 1915, I came to appreciate the magnitude of sacrifice suffered by all sides in the Great War in the Middle East.

Eugene's book list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East

Eugene Rogan Why did Eugene love this book?

For all the interest in the British experience of the Great War in the Middle East, there are precious few books that captured the other side of the trenches in the immediate aftermath of the war. Liman von Sanders was one of the few. His book first appeared in German in 1919, but was published in English eight years later and gave American and British readers their first real sense of the Ottoman and German experience of the war. Liman began service in Ottoman domains as the head of a German military mission to rebuild the Turkish Army after the catastrophic Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. Given all he knew about the low level of Ottoman war preparedness, he was outspoken against concluding an alliance to draw Turkey into the Central Alliance. But once the die was cast, Liman threw himself into the Ottoman war effort with all he had. The…

By Liman von Sanders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Otto Liman von Sanders (1855 - 1929) will always be associated with the Dardanelles campaign in which he commanded the Turkish Fifth Army, the army that defended Gallipoli, defeated the allied invasion and, after a campaign lasting some eight months (April-December 1915) forced the Allies to give up and withdraw. He was a cavalry officer who was commanding the German 22nd Division in Cassel when, in June 1913, he was offered the post of Chief of a German Military Mission in Turkey: he accepted and took up his post in December of that year and took over command of the…


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 Road to En-Dor Being an Account of How Two Prisoners of War at Yozgad in Turkey Won Their Way to Freedom

Eugene Rogan Author Of The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East

From my list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professional historian of the Middle East, I’ve long recognized WWI as a vital turning point in the region’s history, when the ancient Ottoman Empire fell and the modern states of the Middle East took its place. Based in Oxford, I am particularly aware of this university’s role in shaping so many of those whose book captured the British experience of the Ottoman Front. But there’s also an element of family history behind my fascination, as in following the story of my great-uncle’s death in Gallipoli in 1915, I came to appreciate the magnitude of sacrifice suffered by all sides in the Great War in the Middle East.

Eugene's book list on by veterans of WW1 on the Middle East

Eugene Rogan Why did Eugene love this book?

Jones was a Welshman who served in the Indian Army in Mesopotamia. He was among the 13,000+ officers and men who surrendered at Kut al-Amara in April 1916. However, he has nothing to say of the horrors of the siege of Kut, or the fate that befell common soldiers, many of whom were marched to death in the Syrian desert. As an officer, Jones was dispatched to the relative comfort of a prisoner of war camp in Yozgat, in central Turkey, and his story begins there in 1917. It is a madcap story of how the British prisoners conspired to persuade their Turkish captors that they were mediums and were able to communicate with spirits through a Ouija board. Jones and one of his fellow officers then feigned madness to secure their repatriation to Britain. While there is something of the tone of a public school adventure to it all,…

By Elias Henry Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road to En-Dor Being an Account of How Two Prisoners of War at Yozgad in Turkey Won Their Way to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.


Book cover of When the War Came Home: The Ottomans' Great War and the Devastation of an Empire

Michelle Tusan Author Of The Last Treaty: Lausanne and the End of the First World War in the Middle East

From my list on World War I and the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where I teach and write about topics ranging from feminism to World War. I became interested in the history of the Armenian Genocide because my grandmother was a survivor. Other books I’ve written include: Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain; Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide and the Birth of the Middle East and The British Empire and the Armenian Genocide. 

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

Michelle Tusan Why did Michelle love this book?

Reading this book you will come to understand the extent of the suffering brought on by World War I to Ottoman society.

I particularly like Akin’s retelling of the experience of ordinary people who lived through the ordeal. Accounts of the war by soldiers and survivors of the nearly decade-long conflict that engulfed Ottoman lands add texture and shape to the military narrative that began in 1914 and only came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

By Yiğit Akın,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When the War Came Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ottoman Empire was unprepared for the massive conflict of World War I. Lacking the infrastructure and resources necessary to wage a modern war, the empire's statesmen reached beyond the battlefield to sustain their war effort. They placed unprecedented hardships onto the shoulders of the Ottoman people: mass conscription, a state-controlled economy, widespread food shortages, and ethnic cleansing. By war's end, few aspects of Ottoman daily life remained untouched.

When the War Came Home reveals the catastrophic impact of this global conflict on ordinary Ottomans. Drawing on a wide range of sources-from petitions, diaries, and newspapers to folk songs and…


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