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An Intellectual Biography
M. Şükrü Hanioğlu
With a new preface by the author

Paperback | 2017 | $19.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691175829
304 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 16 halftones. 4 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400885572 |
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When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first president of Turkey in 1923, he set about transforming his country into a secular republic where nationalism sanctified by science--and by the personality cult Atatürk created around himself--would reign supreme as the new religion. This book provides the first in-depth look at the intellectual life of the Turkish Republic's founder. In doing so, it frames him within the historical context of the turbulent age in which he lived, and explores the uneasy transition from the late Ottoman imperial order to the modern Turkish state through his life and ideas.

Shedding light on one of the most complex and enigmatic statesmen of the modern era, M. Sükrü Hanioglu takes readers from Atatürk's youth as a Muslim boy in the volatile ethnic cauldron of Macedonia, to his education in nonreligious and military schools, to his embrace of Turkish nationalism and the modernizing Young Turks movement. Who was this figure who sought glory as an ambitious young officer in World War I, defied the victorious Allies intent on partitioning the Turkish heartland, and defeated the last sultan? Hanioglu charts Atatürk's intellectual and ideological development at every stage of his life, demonstrating how he was profoundly influenced by the new ideas that were circulating in the sprawling Ottoman realm. He shows how Atatürk drew on a unique mix of scientism, materialism, social Darwinism, positivism, and other theories to fashion a grand utopian framework on which to build his new nation.

Now with a new preface, this book provides the first in-depth look at the intellectual life of the Turkish Republic's founder.

M. Şükrü Hanioğlu is the Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His books include A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire (Princeton).


"Fresh and concise."--New Yorker

"A significant achievement, and indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the roots of modern Turkey."--Times Higher Education

"Atatürk does not lack for biographers, most of whose books are adulatory, but none has so thoroughly brought to life the ideological climate that molded the man as has Hanioğlu. And few have presented Atatürk with such objectivity."--Foreign Affairs

"The definitive biography of Atatürk and an instant classic."--Digest of Middle East Studies

"Hanioğlu does a stellar job highlighting the scientific trends Atatürk used to validate his Turkish national ideal. . . . Highly recommended."--Library Journal

"This work provides the essential intellectual framework to understand Atatürk and the enormity of his accomplishments."--Choice

"M. Sükrü Hanioglu probes the bold and pragmatic mind of Atatürk in his new book. . . . Hanioglu provides us with a fresh way to look at Atatürk."--Saudi Gazette

"Professor Sükrü Hanioglu . . . combines elegance and meticulousness in Atatürk."--Andrew Mango, Literary Review

"Professor Hanioglu's study, based on meticulous research of primary sources, deals with the social setting and intellectual sources that shaped the ideas that have directed Ataturk's actions and policies. The book not only helps demythologize Ataturk, it also provides a most valuable contribution to a better understanding of the state he founded. . . . Ataturk is indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to understand Turkey's politics."--Sahin Alpay, Today's Zaman

"M. Sükrü Hanioglu's latest book, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography, is probably the best book on Atatürk's legacy and his historic role. . . . Hanioglu managed to combine both impartiality and immediate access to Turkish sources to produce a classic."--Herkül Millas, Today's Zaman

More reviews

Table of Contents:

List of Figures and Tables ix
A Note on Transliteration and Personal and Place Names xi
Turkish Pronunciation Guide xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. Fin-de-siècle Salonica 8
Chapter 2. Das Volk in Waffen: The Formation of an Ottoman Officer 31
Chapter 3. The Scientism of the Young Turks 48
Chapter 4. From Wars to the Great War: A Hero Is Born 68
Chapter 5. Muslim Communism? The Turkish War of Independence 86
Chapter 6. The Secular Republic 129
Chapter 7. Nationalism and Kemalism 160
Chapter 8. Turkey and the West 199
Conclusion 226
Bibliography 233
Index 255

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by M. Şükrü Hanioğlu:

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