New York: Morrow, 1965.
Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, is an intriguing figure in early 20th century history. A brilliant military tactician, deep thinker, charismatic leader, democrat, lover of western culture, demagogue, dictator, womanizer, and alcoholic, this man is an enigma to many and worshipped by his followers. This book traces his life from his birth in Selanik (modern-day Thessalonica), to his death, painting an accurate, unflattering picture both of Atatürk and of the day and age he lived in.
Lord Kinross’ understated English style is perfect for capturing such a magnificent historical figure as Atatürk. It’s a pity that it is not quite as widely read today, as it unlocks both the life of Kemal Atatürk, as well as the background to the reason the Turkish Republic is what it is today. For anyone interested in modern middle-eastern history, this is a must-read, and for those who like a good autobiography, it is an excellent choice, too. This book should foster a greater respect for Atatürk, both inspiring and sobering the reader by what kind of a man he was. Unfortunately, it’s out of print, but should be available through used book sellers or the inter-library loan program of your local library.