Aksan on Finkel, 'Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923'
Caroline Finkel. Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. New York: Basic Books, 2006. xix + 660 pp. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-465-02396-7; $62.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7195-5513-8.
Reviewed by Virginia Aksan (Department of History, McMaster University) Published on H-Turk (July, 2007)
The Long Ottoman Road
Not since the publication of Stanford J. Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw's History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (vol. 1: Empire of the Gazis and vol. 2: Reform, Revolution and Republic, 1976-77) has the English-speaking world had a serious, comprehensive narrative of the Ottoman world at hand. While there have been numerous attempts to fill in the gap in the last quarter century, most are risible, even comic recreations of a vast territory with a six-hundred-plus-year (1300-1923) lifespan.
Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire arrives in our bookstores at a time of intense interest and a flurry of publications on the pre-modern Middle East. Areas of particular focus for Ottoman specialists have been the classical or golden age up to and including Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66) and the long century from 1800 to the end of empire in 1923. They are radically different fields of research, the former engaging Europeanists around many of the sustaining myths and stereotypes of the "terrible Turk," while the latter aims at carving out the Ottoman road to the modern. In a recent review by Nicholas Doumanis of new works by Suraiya Faroqhi, Daniel Goffman, Molly Greene, Bruce Masters, and Donald Quataert, called "Durable Empire: State Virtuosity and Social Accommodation in the Ottoman Mediterranean", he notes: "Getting to know this 'real' and ever-changing entity has required wholesale revision of conventional interpretative frameworks and the assumptions built into causal plots of conventional narratives."
Ehud Toledano best described three such "interpretative frameworks" a while back in a review of Suraiya Faroqhi's Approaching Ottoman History: An Introduction to the Sources (1999). Noting Faroqhi's general neglect of Edward Said's Orientalism in her work, he added "Practically all of the main building blocks of the Orientalist Paradigm, which Said did not elaborate, but are easily recognizable to scholars in the field, are present in Ottoman studies, and at least three of them are central to the body of knowledge generated by its practitioners. These are the Decline Theory (part of the larger Islamic Decline model), the Eastern Question, and the Impact of the West."
All such narratives were constructed around the question of the rise and fall of empires, and in their different ways attempted to answer the question either as to why the Ottomans survived, or why they failed to keep pace with Europe. Inexorable decline was the first to undergo extensive revisionism among Ottomanists of the last couple of decades. The explanation for the decline, generally posited to have continued from 1600 to 1850, rested on the premise that the central state lost control over both manpower and revenue sources by 1600, and never fully recovered such control until European financiers arrived in the 1850s to colonize and revive the Ottoman economy. It is obviously related to both the other schools of thought: the "Eastern Question," which used to rest almost exclusively on bureaucratic debates of successive British governments about the extent of the Russian threat, and the "Impact of the West," which could conveniently demonstrate that the Ottomans were not redeemable until they came to assimilate western technologies and secularism.
The three narrative templates have come under sustained attack in recent years, as part of the general rejection of Eurocentric history, and the field is the better for it, but I think it fair to say that we still lack a paradigmatic substitute for the longue duree, especially for the middle period 1600-1850. With few exceptions, recent studies of the Ottomans are divided into two empires: from sultans Osman to Suleyman the Magnificent, extended to 1650 by most, and the era of reform (Tanzimat), from 1839 to 1918 (or to 1923 if the narrative includes the emergence of the Turkish republic). The new Cambridge versions by Daniel Goffman, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), the former ending circa 1600, the later beginning in 1700, are the best examples of the phenomenon. The Goffman book situates the Ottomans in the Europe of the Renaissance, and argues strenuously for the enormous impact of the Ottomans on European and Mediterranean consciousness. The Quataert book concerns itself largely with the nineteenth century, and offers a substantial glimpse into Ottoman social spheres. Both were designed for the classroom, and are making a difference in the way we teach.
One experiment with the middle period, Suraiya Faroqhi's The Ottoman Empire and the World Around It (London: I. B. Tauris, 2004), is a select social history of the empire in the Goffman vein, set in its geographical context, looking westward. Her work has always drawn parallels between European and Ottoman societies, as she explicitly situates herself in the social history of diplomacy, trade, and agrarian societies. This latest synthesis includes many vignettes of hybridity, middle passages, and permanent exiles, blurring, as Dan Goffman does, the line beyond Muslim and Christian worlds. Implicitly and explicitly, these works challenge the paradigms mentioned above.
For the Suleymanic age, Cemal Kafadar's Between Two Worlds (1995) has the most succinct representation of the historiography on the origins of the Ottomans, and a more complex explanation of the ubiquitous gazi (warrior for the faith) thesis, which has resulted in a flourishing textual search for expressions of Ottoman foundational ideologies and legitimacy, along with the ongoing study of Ottoman-Muslim institutions such as law courts, charitable organizations, and systems of coercion such as slavery and conversion. Such surveys and studies have broadened our understanding of the middle centuries.
For the late Ottoman Empire, the secularist/modernization teleology is represented by the out-of-date, but solid works by Bernard Lewis (The Emergence of Modern Turkey [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968]), and Niyazi Berkes (The Development of Secularism in Turkey [Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964]), which remain in print. There are many more recent versions, but they focus largely on the trajectory from dying empire to modern republic, and the vexed questions of ownership of that history. There is certainly a Tanzimat subfield, 1839-1876, which has always been essential to Turkish nationalist historiography, but has recently been joined by vigorous and interesting revisionist history about the Ottoman Arab world. The work of Albert Hourani and Andre Raymond set the agenda, which has influenced several generations of students of the Arab long nineteenth century. Some of the new approaches can be sampled in The Empire in the City: Arab Provincial Capitals in the Late Ottoman Empire, eds. Jens Hanssen, Thomas Philipp, and Stefan Weber (Wuürzburg : Ergon in Kommission, 2002).
We know more now about the 1600-1850 era then we did when Shaw published his history, especially about the Ottoman economy and world systems, thanks to several decades of archival research and interpretation which built on work by Barkan and Braudel. We also have been offered three templates for change for the middle era, in the works of Rifaat Ali Abou-El-Hajj, Karen Barkey, and Gabriel Piterberg. Rifaat Abou El-Hajj's influential Formation of the State: The Ottoman Empire Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries (Albany: State University of New York Press); 2nd ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005) set out an agenda calling for a refocus on class, changing social order, and fluidity rather than on institutional structures, Weberian bureaucracies, and decentralization. Karen Barkey's Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 1994), attributes a genius to the Ottoman ability to control the empire's elites by cycles of court inclusion and exclusion, and access to wealth (the bandit to bureaucrat [and back again] of her title). Her model offers us an approach into the logic of Ottoman rebellions, that ubiquitous aspect of the middle centuries of empire. Gabriel Piterberg's An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003) seeks to explain the Ottoman ideological and societal divisions of the seventeenth century by a close reading of textual justifications of the tragedy of the regicide of the young Sultan Osman II in 1622. As influential as all three works have been in Ottomanist circles, no one in our era has had both the combination of breadth of knowledge and audacity to rewrite the whole story.
Until now. Caroline Finkel is known in the field especially for her meticulous archival research on the Ottoman military, and military architecture, as well as for a collaborative project on earthquakes. First issued in 2005 by John Murray, a company with a distinguished record of publishing books on the Middle East, Osman's Dream was picked up by Basic Books in 2006 in North America. Finkel is frank about her intentions and her several audiences in the preface. A resident of Turkey for many years, she was prompted by a need for a new narrative to serve as a corrective to the many that reduce the Ottomans to a "theatre of the absurd, ...a setting which lacks all but the barest acknowledgement of the dynamics of history" (p. xi). Aware of the paucity of such studies in Turkey itself, she aimed at filling the void for a contemporary Turkish audience, but also addressing the general reader whose views have been particularly influenced by the "What went wrong?" and "Why didn't they" analyses of the post-9/11 world (p. xiv). She intended the text for students of the empire as a single-volume entry into Ottoman history, noting: "To understand those who are culturally and historically different from us--rather than resorting to such labels as 'evil empire,' 'fundamentalist,' and 'terrorist' to mask our ignorance--is a matter of urgency" (p. xiv). The book is rapidly being translated and published in multiple languages, testimony enough to the perceived deficit of this sort of work.
While the geographical coverage of Osman's Dream is inclusive of all Ottoman territories, this remains a grand narrative which privileges imperial Istanbul as the nexus of Ottomanness, later Turkishness, even though there is an increasingly rich historiography on other nodes of belonging: Arabs, Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Albanians, Circassians, to name the most obvious. That said, I think Finkel's story is balanced and clear-eyed, introducing as she can the alternative versions as they were available to her. Perhaps it also has to do with the author's chosen trajectory for Osman's Dream, which is aptly named because it begins with dreams of empire in Turkic Anatolia and ends with visions of the republican phoenix rising from the ashes of World War I in Turkish Anatolia. Finkel elected to extend her narrative into the early years of the republic, in order to comment on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's "dream" (and self-justification) for his new nation in the six-day speech in 1927 known as Nutuk, which in the English edition is 724 pages long. This device allows Finkel to end her story with a lesson for present-day Turks concerning the utility of rehearsing the role of history and rethinking the national narrative. While some might disagree with her inclusion of such didacticism, the conceit of the dreams is a deft touch. It is the only place she resorts to an authorial lecture of that sort in what is a judicious portrait of the empire.
The heart of the story is laid out in sixteen chapters, dense and sometimes relentless in the inclusion of a huge cast of greater and lesser characters of the Ottoman stage. Help is available in a number of ways: for one, the choice to use the modern form of place names, which will irk experts, will help the non-specialist. There is also a good set of maps, a detailed and lengthy chronology (pp. 557-572), and a set of interesting illustrations and photographs inserted in the middle of the text. The reader will be hard put to find a periodization of the empire's history outside the chronology, as the author has preferred the "strong narrative" line (p. xiii), but the chapter titles indicate the direction of empire implicitly: "First among Equals" (chapter 1); "Possessor of the Kingdoms of the World" (chapter 5); "Rule of the Grandees" (chapter 9); "From the Ordering to the 'Re-ordering'" (chapter 13), and "The Storm before the Calm" (chapter 16) as examples. In lieu of sub-headings, which in a narrative as lengthy as this are advisable, a double-spaced paragraph break indicates a change in subject within the chapters. There are occasional explanatory pauses along the way, such as on pages 5-6, where the author asks why the family of Osman won the race to empire; or page 339, where a couple of paragraphs explain the effort to reform the tax system in the seventeenth century; or on page 488, where Finkel discusses the reputation of Abdulhamid II (1876-1909), dubbed "Abdul the Damned" by his enemies.
In general, speculative or explanatory interjections are few, and subsumed in the larger narrative project. That project is massive, informative, and often entertaining. I particularly liked the sixteenth-century inscription on the fortress at Bender (modern Tighina), where Suleyman the Magnificent declares: "In Baghdad, I am the shah, in Byzantine realms the caesar, and in Egypt the sultan" (p. 129), an example of the author's generous inclusion of illustrative bits from chronicles, poetry, and other textual and physical remains of the empire. In another instance, she reminds us that Sultan Ahmed III (1703-1730) had thirty daughters he adroitly married off to his loyal statesmen in time-honored fashion, a comment which led me to think could account for the stability of the royal household for a large part of the eighteenth century (pp. 338-339).
A nice example of her biographical sketches is that of Varvar Ali, an Ottoman governor of the seventeenth century, illustrated by verses from his autobiography. He began life as a draftee into the Janissaries: "they took me weeping and in distress, I did not know what was in store for me." He found himself a courtier under Sultan Ahmed I (1603-1617), who addressed him: "'Pray tell' he bade, 'reveal to me your heart's desire, your wish is my command'; in reply I entreated, 'As one of your pages in the senior service, may you grant my wish and permit me to attend you on the march.'" Varvar Ali served under several sultans, having distinguished himself on the battlefield, but was assassinated by a rival in the sustained disorder generated by the Abaza Mehmed rebellion beginning in 1623. His autobiography ended three years before his death in 1648, concluding with the lines: "On the bestowal of this supreme favor, I became oblivious to the world, the universe entire; Should the grace of God be granted to His servant, a shepherd may be [transported] to a sultan's domain" (pp. 231-233).
Finkel's description of the Abaza Mehmed rebellion, a central event of seventeenth-century Ottoman politics, allows us a further glimpse into the pleasure and pitfalls of this particular approach to writing Ottoman history (pp. 202-230, passim). Finkel first sets the rebellion in the context of center-periphery politics, and the tension between the Anatolian troops and the elite regiments of the Janissaries in Istanbul. The rebellion began deep in Anatolia in 1623, where Abaza Mehmed had just been dismissed as governor of Erzurum. His rebellion was ostensibly aimed at revenge for the regicide (the first) of Sultan Osman II (1618-1622), but the revolt was equally a result of the turmoil on the Safavid/Ottoman border, which required constant reiteration of Ottoman power through imperial campaigns to regain Baghdad between 1624 and 1639. (One of the contemporary explanations for the regicide was the young sultan's decision to lead his army into Anatolia as a means of reform, which the Janissaries feared meant an eclipse of their power in Istanbul.) We learn from Finkel's narrative that Abaza Mehmed had mounted an army of 40,000, and besieged Ankara for the better part of a year, a very large threat which the new sultan, in the chaos following Osman II's death, had neither the troops nor the money to resist. Then Finkel adds two paragraphs of explanation that even though the regicide engendered a shift in power politics at center, it never really threatened the dynastic order, and it is her understanding that rebellions, even of this strength, aimed at insertion of the particular rebel into the circle of power rather than overthrow of the system (pp. 204-205).
From 1628 till his death in 1634, Abaza Mehmed was restored to sultanic favor under the formidable Sultan Murad IV (1623-1640), and served both in the Balkans and the Crimea. The sultan himself, who is portrayed as having been forced to execute his favorite under pressure from his rivals, rode in his funeral procession, an extraordinary mark of favor, which engendered further mythical adventures of the loyal rebel. Finkel relates a story from Evliya Chelebi, whose famous travels often included tall tales, about a faux Abaza Mehmed who turned up in Erzurum and claimed he had escaped execution in 1634 by spending more than 15 years at sea as an Algerian corsair, captive of the Danish, and member of the Portuguese navy! The finale to this tale comes from an Armenian priest, eyewitness to many of the events in Istanbul, who had heard that Abaza Mehmed was remembered in Erzurum as a man "who loved Christians and particularly the oppressed Armenian community; a man who served his country well and was solicitous of the weak of all [religions] without discrimination" (p. 208).
Finkel's record of this and other events, which I have teased out of a number of pages, is produced practically verbatim from the contemporary sources she has used, making it colorful but tough going to keep the catalog of names and factions straight. Furthermore, the habit of translating some of the longer names of the individuals involved in such events is annoying, for example, "Guzelce ('Beauteous') Ali Pasha" (p. 198); "Tabaniyassi ('Flat-footed') Mehmed Pasha" (p. 209); "Civan ('Young Fellow') Kapucubashi ('Gatekeeper') Sultanzade Mehmed Pasha" (p. 225); or "Cinci ('Demon-chaser') Huseyin Hoca" (p. 225). While such insertions may elucidate an individual's character, they also underscore Ottoman difference, reinforcing the exotic. Furthermore, the simple recital of endless rebellions, without any attempt at a topography, or genealogy of violence, invites the reformation of the Ottoman sick (and violent) man of Europe in the minds of her readers.
The seventeenth century is Finkel's strong suit. For the eighteenth century onwards, she pulls together the story of the collapse of the Ottoman military and the sustained conflicts with the Russian Empire, and moves into "The Islamic Empire" chapter with the standard narrative of struggle in and around Sultan Abulhamid II. There are interesting details demonstrating the sultan's obsession with the Ottoman image abroad. Following Selim Deringil, she informs us of the Ottoman insistence on their right to attend the Berlin conference on the future of Africa in 1884-85, when they had not originally been invited (p. 498). Elsewhere, we learn that even after the Crimean War and almost till the end of the empire, the sultans sent a high-ranking envoy to welcome the tsar to his summer residences in the Crimea, as part of Russia's symbolic deference to the sultan-caliph as spiritual leader of the (Russian) Muslim community there (p. 493).
On the much-contested Armenian genocide, Finkel is even-handed in her treatment of the events of the 1890s. She traces the emergence of the extensive eastern rebellions of the general population between 1905 and 1907, the rise of the Committee of Union and Progress, and the loss of Bulgaria, Crete, and Bosnia in 1908-09, all while the society was experiencing radical, if localized, liberalization, the reopening of parliament, and the thirty-first March incident which ended with the deposition of Abdulhamid himself. On pages 534-536, Finkel sets the massacres of the Armenians in 1915 in the context of the experience of all ethnicities and religious groups in the remaining Ottoman territories, but is careful to rehearse arguments for both sides of the genocide debate and allows that continued denial consigns Turkey to pariah status in western circles, and Armenia and Azerbeijan to a miserable existence. The remainder of the chapter traces the emergence of the Turkish Republic in the ferocious defense of the territory of last resort for millions of Muslims fleeing or exiled from Balkan and Caucasus territories, introducing the sober evidence of the official census figures of the resulting populations between 1900 and 1927 (from the work of Zurcher). In the precipitous statistical drop in non-Muslims in cities like Erzurum (from 32 to 0.1 percent), Trabzon (43 to 1 percent) and Sivas, from 33 to 5 percent, the "success of the new nationalist republic in avenging itself on the Ottoman Armenians and Greeks who, as the victors saw it, had so treacherously turned against their Muslim compatriots was manifest" (p. 547). The final pages trace the evolving meanings of the word "Turk" across the centuries of empire, with its eventual residence in the definition of the modern nation-state of Turkey.
Between the oriental tale of Abaza Mehmed and this very modern tale of ethnic cleansing and genocidal impulses there is very little in the way of explanation for the levels of state-inflicted violence and popular resistance described here. Finkel is not entirely at fault. It is simply the way the story is generally told because few have tried a holistic view of the multiple political, military, and economic crises of the 1650-1850 period. Contextualizing the revolts of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries as part of the larger narrative of the Ottoman passage is long overdue. The historiography of rebellions and the impact of warfare on early modern European society, by contrast, has a distinguished lineage, unmatched by those who write on the Ottoman world in English, even though there are many important studies and much ongoing research of individual revolts, in specific regions, or among specific groups. (I think here of the work on the celali revolts in Anatolia; on the Arab provinces and Egypt in the seventeenth and eighteenth century; on Greece and on the Balkans). European historians by and large acknowledge that the era 1500-1800 was a highly unstable period, and that in the effort to control violence, the emerging sovereign states inflicted as much violence on "friendly and passive citizens" as on external enemies.
There are obvious reasons for the lack of coherence on the question of violence in Ottoman historiography, relating to insufficient information, nationalist or cold war paradigms, or the unwillingness of many of us to legitimate orientalist stereotypes about barbarism which seem to resurface in the popular imagination with depressing regularity. To that I would also add a resistance among the experts to step beyond the texts, as here, and to think comparatively across cultures. As a consequence of the lack of coherence, the sectarian violence of the nineteenth century seems sui generis, hence, even more condemnable.
It is far too convenient to hold the Ottomans (or the Turks, or the Arabs, read Muslims) accountable for the mess of the modern-day Middle East, as some reviewers of Osman's Dream have used the occasion to do. What Caroline Finkel has achieved here is the assembling and humanizing of a complex and long-lived civilization, an accomplishment that will take some doing to surpass.
. This reviewer assumes, for the sake of argument that such a narrative is helpful and necessary, if mainly for classroom or general readership. For a discussion of a number of them, such as those of Andrew Wheatcroft and Jason Goodwin, see my "The Ottoman Story Today" in Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 25 (2001): 35-42.
. Nicholas Doumanis, "Durable Empire: State Virtuosity and Social Accommodation in the Ottoman Mediterranean," The Historical Journal 49 (2006): 953-966 (here, p. 954).
. "What Ottoman History, and Ottomanist Historiography Are, or, Rather, Are Not," Middle Eastern Studies 38 (2002): 199. His criticism of Faroqhi's work was rather more concerned about the Turkish-Arab divide in the field, which we discussed in an exchange about a "one-stop" textbook on H-Turk (V. Aksan, 11 November 2002).
. The tradition draws on Gibbon and Von Hammer; Shaw's work reflects the historiography in the subtitle of volume 1: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1280-1808 and of volume 2: The Rise of Modern Turkey, 1808-1975. My inspiration in this as always is Palmira Brummett, especially in "Imagining the Early Modern Ottoman Space: from World History to Piri Reis," in The Early Modern Ottoman World: Remapping the Empire, ed. Virginia H. Aksan and Daniel Goffman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
. That situation could change with the publication of the Cambridge History of Turkey volume 3: The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603-1839, edited by Suraiya N. Faroqhi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), the first of a four-volume set. As recently noted on H-Turk, the other three volumes are slated for publication in 2007.
. Halil Inalcik is the doyen of the approach. A more recent example is Colin Imber, The Ottoman Empire 1300-1650: The Structure of Power (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2002). One of the best examples of an edited work for a generalized audience is Suleyman the Magnificent and His Age: The Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern World, ed. Metin Kunt and Christine Woodhead (London and New York: Longman, 1995). One that is likely to become a favorite is Legitimizing the Order: The Ottoman Rhetoric of State Power, ed. Hakan T. Karateke and Maurus Reinkowski (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005).
. There is of course the well-populated historiography around the rise of Turkish nationalism, which is hotly contested around the debate on the Armenian genocide, the role of the Committee of Union and Progress, and the Ottomans in WWI. It has developed a number of competing paradigms of its own: Erik J. Zurcher, Feroz Ahmed, Sukru Hanioglu are among others I discussed in "Finding the Way Back to the Ottoman Empire: Review Article," International History Review 25 (2003): 96-107.
. The work includes two introductory articles on the "Discourse and Practice of Ottomanism": Usama Makdisi, "Rethinking Ottoman Imperialism: Modernity, Violence and the Cultural Logic of Ottoman Reform," and Jens Hanssen, "Practices of Integration--Center-Periphery Relations in the Ottoman Empire," which could be said to set out the paradigm of late Ottoman colonialism in Arab/Muslim/Gulf territories.
. See the review of Piterberg on H-TURK/H-NET by Gottfried Hagen (April 2006, http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=8331153159749). It would be remiss of me not to mention the influential Jack A. Goldstone work, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), an ACLS e-book. His is a cyclical template linked to population growth, which could use amplification from Ottomanists.
. The Administation of Warfare: Ottoman Military Campaigns in Hungary 1593-1606 (Vienna, 1988); with Victor Ostapchuk, "The Archeology and Construction History of the Black Sea Fortress of Ozi," Muqarnas (2005): 150-188, and with N. N. Ambraseys, The Seismicity of Turkey and Adjacent Areas: a Historical Review (Istanbul: Eren, 1995).
. A Turkish translation has just been published: Ruyadan Imparatorluga Osmanli: Osmanli Imparatorlugu'nun Oykusu, 1300-1923 (Istanbul: Timas, 2007).
. One exception is a special issue on mutiny and rebellion, International Journal of Turkish Studies 8 (2002), edited by Jane Hathaway, from a conference at Ohio State University.
. Julius R. Ruff, Violence in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 44-45.
. Daniel Lazare, "Ottoman Ghosts," The Nation (Sept. 25, 2006), who uses the review to flog his own version of the Ottoman demise and contemporary history: "By the end, the empire was little more than a giant machine for the manufacture of ethno-religious enmity, as the world has since learned to its dismay," and then discusses the examples of Lebanon and Israel as successor states (p. 36).
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Citation: Virginia Aksan. Review of Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. H-Turk, H-Net Reviews. July, 2007. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=13356
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