A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Paperback)
"The definitive account of the organized destruction of the Ottoman Armenians . . . No future discussion of the history will be able to ignore this brilliant book."—Orhan Pamuk
Beginning in 1915, under the cover of a world war, some one million Armenians were killed through starvation, forced marches, and mass acts of slaughter. Although Armenians and the judgment of history have long held the Ottoman powers responsible for genocide, modern Turkey has rejected any such claim.
Now, in a pioneering work of excavation, Turkish historian Taner Akçam has made unprecedented use of Ottoman and other sources—military and court records, parliamentary minutes, letters, and eyewitness reports—to produce a scrupulous account of Ottoman culpability. Tracing the causes of the mass destruction, Akçam reconstructs its planning and implementation by the departments of state, the military, and the ruling political parties, and he probes the multiple failures to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As the topic of the Armenian genocide provokes ever-greater passion and controversy around the world, Akçam's work has only become more important and relevant. Beyond its timeliness, however, A Shameful Act is sure to take its lasting place as a classic and necessary work on the subject.
Born in Ardahan province, Turkey, in 1953, Taner Akçam is the author of ten scholarly works of history and sociology, including A Shameful Act, as well as numerous articles in Turkish, German, and English. He currently teaches at Clark University.
"Akçam is the first Turkish scholar to call the massacres genocide; his impressive achievement here is to shine fresh light on exactly why and how the Ottoman Empire deported and slaughtered the Armenians."
—The New York Times Book Review
"No scholar has mined and synthesized the Ottoman Empire's internal documents and memoirs with Akçam's assiduous skill.... A Shameful Act is destined to become a touchstone for other studies.... Be grateful for Taner Akçam: he speaks the holy truth."
"No one knows how many Armenians died at Turkish hands in the 1910s, but the number almost certainly exceeds one million. Akçam, writing from the safe distance of the University of Minnesota, has worked through thousands and thousands of documents to find concrete evidence thereof, against considerable difficulty. "