An Intellectual Biography

Book - 2011
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Princeton University Press

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.

Book News
Enigmatic, complex, and visionary, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first president of Turkey (beginning in 1923) and the founder of modern Turkey--the leader of the country as it transitioned from the Ottoman imperial order into a modern state. Hanioglu (Near Eastern studies, Princeton U.) states in his introduction: "...any scholar seeking to grapple with the historical Ataturk must engage primarily in demythologizing, historicizing, and contextualizing through the use of primary source material." He draws on Ataturk's speeches, correspondence, and other writings (as well as selected secondary sources) to do just that, with exclusive focus on his ideas and, generally, avoidance of the details of his personal life. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2011
ISBN: 9780691151090
Branch Call Number: 956.1024 ATATU HANIO
Characteristics: 273 pages


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