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An Intellectual Biography
M. Şükrü Hanioğlu

Also available in a new paperback

eBook | ISBN: 9781400838172 | Where to buy this ebook

Paperback | 2011 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691157948
Hardcover | 2011 | This edition is out of print | ISBN: 9780691151090


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.


"[F]resh and concise."--New Yorker

"[T]his intellectual biography is 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 Hanioglu. And few have presented Atatürk with such objectivity."--Foreign Affairs

"In this timely and brilliantly articulated book, Hanioglu reaffirms the need for an intimate understanding of historical context in biographical research. . . . This rich and exhaustively researched study is indispensible for academics and students of Turkish and Middle Eastern studies alike. It is the definitive biography of Atatürk and an instant classic in the field."--Douglas H. Garrison, Digest of Middle East Studies

"Cutting through years of writings filled with admiration for this charismatic leader and a popular sentiment close to hero worship, Hanioğlu performs a skillful analysis, focusing on the ideas and intellectual movements that shaped the statesman, rather than recounting Atatürk's personal life. . . . Hanioglu does a stellar job highlighting the scientific trends Atatürk used to validate his Turkish national ideal."--Library Journal

"Hanioglu has prepared a concise, compelling biography of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He examines the political and intellectual movements that influenced Atatürk from his early school years until his death in 1938, along with the implementation of their ideas, which led to the development of the Republic of Turkey. . . . This work provides the essential intellectual framework to understand Ataturk and the enormity of his accomplishments."--Choice

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