Nation-making Amnesia

A Shameful Act
The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility
Taner Akçam
Metropolitan Books, $30, 496 pp.

It is hard for Americans to imagine a topic almost a century old that remains so wounding that writers risk their lives merely for raising it. Yet in Turkey, the nightmarish events of 1915–16, when upwards of a million Armenians may have perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, remain so bitterly contested that even using the word “genocide” can get you into trouble. Recently an organization of Turkish nationalist lawyers brought charges against the novelist Elif...

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About the Author

Margaret Lavinia Anderson teaches history at the University of California, Berkeley.