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Turkey Unveiled
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Website of the book by Hugh Pope, author of Turkey Unveiled

Selected as a BOOK OF THE YEAR for 2005 by the London-based weekly THE ECONOMIST, one of 45 volumes chosen. "An ambitious book, and an accomplished one" (Dec. 10, 2005). New York's FOREIGN AFFAIRS magazine gave it top-of-the-bill ranking, listing it first in a 2009 listing of 20 books it judged essential reading to understand Turkish politics.


"The product of deep and wide experience and long reflection. It is beautifully written, with a journalist's eye for the telling detail, a raconteur's ear for the resonant anecdote, all held in place by a fine weave of history and judicious analysis" - Financial Times, Sept 3, 2005 

"Incisive political and cultural reportage … a sequence of superbly reported episodes" -- The Nation, May 8, 2006

 "The most comprehensive work on the Turks today … overflows with hilarious anecdotes and distinctive characters" - The Economist, May 19, 2005

 "Gripping and fresh ... a robust and current history of a region where the great game is indisputably back in play" - Prospect magazine, January 2006

 "Buzzes with life and personality … an excellent first book for anyone interested in the subject" - Publishers Weekly, May 16, 2005


Publication details

Sons of the Conquerors: the Rise of the Turkic World
was first published in May 2005 in New York by Overlook Press and in June 2005 in London by Duckworth. Price: $35.00 hardcover. ISBN: 1-58567-641-1.1 map and 34 b&w photos, 6x9 trim size, 432 pages. Distributed by Viking/Penguin. Publshed n October 2005 n Turksh as Evlad- Fatihan: Türk Dünyann Yükselii by Vatan Publshng Co., Istanbul, ISBN 975-8857-18-5. Published in Nov. 2006 in Dutch as Zonen van de veroveraars: De herrijzenis van de Turkische volken, Atlas Publishing, Amsterdam, ISBN 9045015773. Publication in French is expected in 2011 by Presses de l'universite Laval.

About the book

The Turks and other Turkic peoples boast an extraordinary past. They have recently reclaimed the wide steppes and mountain ranges of their untamed, mineral-rich homelands. Many signs point to strong future progress. Yet the Turkic peoples remain some of the least understood nationalities on the planet.  In this unique new book, former Wall Street Journal correspondent Hugh Pope bridges this gap in our knowledge with a riveting account of 15 years of travels through more than 20 countries and communities of the Turkic world.

Above all, SONS OF THE CONQUERORS provides a new, coherent framework for understanding today's descendants of the Turkic nomad hordes, or armies, who once vanquished China, the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East. Mixing tales from medieval chronicles with anecdotes from his own adventures, Hugh Pope shows the myriad connections that live on between Turkic peoples. These include rebellious Uygur Turks in western China's Xinjiang province, the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia, one quarter of the population of Iran, harassed minorities in Iraq and the Balkans, and the flourishing, controversial new immigrant communities of Europe, where Turkish can now be heard on every other street corner of Berlin. He even finds an American community in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States, the Melungeons, who have adopted a Turkic identity based on two lines of descent: one from native Americans who crossed the Bering Strait, and another line from Ottoman galley slaves abandoned on the American coast by Sir Francis Drake. Fanciful but sincere, the Melungeon's leader believes that his people prove that a Turkic thread literally girdles the world.

Along the way, SONS OF THE CONQUERORS explores the legacy of Turkic history, which has been bloody, glorious and rarely dull. For centuries, Muslim lands were ruled by Turkic dynasties like the Moguls who conquered India, the Safavids who laid the foundations of modern Iran and the Ottomans whose five-century-long empire encompassed Turkey, the Balkans and the Middle East. Turkic ascendancy was slowly broken in the past two centuries by the rising power of Europe, Russia and China, turning Turkic populations into refugees or unloved provinces of others' empires. To show how this still colors Turkic attitudes, Hugh Pope joined columns of refugees in Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, and experienced at first hand the fear of the oppressed Uygurs of China.

SONS OF THE CONQUERORS tells how Turkic peoples are building up momentum. Six independent states now have majorities who speak Turkic languages, and a number of other territories are winning measures of autonomy. Altogether, Turkic populations number some 140 million people worldwide. Pragmatic Muslims for the most part, they offer a readiness to work with the West, access to the new oil province in and around the Caspian Sea and examples of secular governance for the Islamic world.  The most powerful and best-established Turkic nation, Turkey, hemmed in for half of the 20th century by its role as a front-line guardian of NATO, has emerged as the most democratic Muslim country and is now negotiating for full membership of the European Union. After a shaky start, the five Turkic states of the Caucasus and Central Asia set free by the end of the Cold War -- Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic -- are making an independent-minded comeback too.

One of the world's foremost experts on Turkey -- and acclaimed co-author of Turkey Unveiled (a New York Times Notable Book) -- Hugh Pope has criss-crossed the wider Turkic world to encounter and assimilate the many facets of this diverse, fascinating and ambitious ethnic group. He distils their opportunistic and prickly genius, shows a new convergence in language and governance, and argues that the basis has been laid for a commercial and cultural solidarity unthinkable before 1991. Weaving together the military legacy of nomad raiders under Attila the Hun, the era of the Great Game and today's wars and political upsets, SONS OF THE CONQUERORS is a compelling account of a long-neglected subject. It brings readers into closer contact with a culture that has shaped history, offers insights into developing countries everywhere and opens a refreshing new window on the Islamic world.


Other critical comment on SONS OF THE CONQUERORS:

"A beautiful book" John Batchelor Show, ABC Radio  (USA), July 13, 2006

''Excellent ... Pope knows the Turkic world like the back of his hand" Asharq al-Awsat, July 21, 2005

"Penetrating and admirably written ... The book stands today as probably the best, most readable account of the Turks' history, politics anthropology, culture and life throughout the world. I recommend it highly to the general reader and as a textbook to teachers of international relations, politics, anthropology and cultural change" The Historian, Fall 2006

"Magnificent ... he can talk to anyone from a bazaar merchant, to a police chief, to a businessman, to an imam, to a president. And he does" Registan.net, Oct. 26, 2005

"An erudite and readable history of the Turks as a people, from their origins on the Eurasian steppes, through the Ottoman ascendancy, to their modern geopolitical reach. Along the way, it also says a lot about Turkey's political and strategic culture." Dr. Ian O. Lesser, "What to Read on Turkish Politics", Foreign Affairs, September 23, 2009.

"A good book about an interesting people" Columbus Dispatch, May 15, 2005

 "Offers a wealth of information … might prove to be one of the more prescient and informative books dealing with the Turkic peoples" Santa Fe New Mexican, May 15, 2005 

"Ambitious, often funny and occasionally profound" -- Foreign Service Journal, April 2006

"Pope has ranged far and wide, listening and observing, and he recounts his experiences entertainingly and illuminatingly, with the added bonus of photographs taken on his travels" - Times Literary Supplement, July 2005

 "How much of a dream, how much of a reality is the idea of a Turkish world that extends from the walls of China to the Adriatic Sea? There is no more authoratitive book on which to base a discussion of the subject ... written so compellingly it can be read in one sitting” - Zaman newspaper, Turkey, 25 Aug 2005

"Pope provides a fascinating insight into the Turkic world" South African Journal of International Affairs, Winter/Spring, 2005

"Anyone interested in Turks and Turkey will want to read Sons of the Conquerors. In fact, we should all read just about anything Hugh Pope writes on Turkey. I do." - Tom Brosnahan, editor of turkeytravelplanner.com, May 2005


Cover of Vatan Kitap's new Turkish language edition of SONS OF THE CONQUERORS


Praise for TURKEY UNVEILED: a History of Modern Turkey, also by Hugh Pope

"A deeply revealing guide ... enlightening the reader on every page."
  -Robert D. Kaplan, New York Times Book Review

"The most comprehensive history of this often misunderstood place in more than a generation ... Turkey Unveiled should become the standard-bearing history of this most fascinating society."
  -Washington Times

"A complete and nuanced picture ... first-rate political reporting."
  -Foreign Affairs

"A well-balanced book ... affectionate and respectful, but highly critical at the same time. It reads seamlessly."
  -Louis de Bernières, Observer Review

"One of the best accounts of Turkey's recent political history."
  -Orhan Pamuk, Times Literary Supplement