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1 Burnside Middle East- Kurds

The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland

by

The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Kevin McKiernan has reported on the Kurds of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria since 1991, but he began his career as a journalist in the 1970s covering armed confrontations by Native Americans. In The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland he draws parallels---using examples of culture, language, and genocide---between Native American history and the experience of the Kurds. With a population of more than twenty-five million, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state, but until recently their long struggle for autonomy has received relatively little attention. Following World War I, the Kurds were promised a homeland, but the dream collapsed amid pressures of Turkish nationalism and the Allied realignment of the Middle East. For the remainder of the century, the story of the Kurds was one of almost constant conflict, as Middle East governments repressed Kurdish culture, language, and politics, destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages, “disappeared” and even gassed the Kurds---often as the West provided military assistance or simply looked away.

The Kurds are politically and ideologically diverse and were never a “nation” in the modern sense, but their struggles for self-determination have been repeatedly betrayed by outside powers. Yet in 1996, a Syrian Kurd would boldly inform the author that the Kurds “were a key to the stability of the Middle East”---prophetic words today, McKiernan writes, as the fallout from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and other developments join to make Kurdish independence a likely, if not imminent, prospect.

McKiernan mixes Middle East history with personal narrative, as he comes face-to-face with Kurdish refugees in the mountains of Iraq and Iran, a hidden war in Turkey, guerrilla safe houses in Syria and Lebanon, backpacking trips behind army lines, scrapes with hostile soldiers, and, finally, the discovery that his personal translator during the Iraq war was also a spy for Saddam Hussein. His complex portrait of the Kurds includes interviews with Jalal Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq, members of the legendary Barzani family, and Abdullah Ocalan, the now-imprisoned leader of the lengthy Kurdish uprising in Turkey. Interwoven throughout is the story of the authors charming and resilient driver who survived a terrorist attack in Iraq, and the American doctors who nursed him back to health.

McKiernans coverage of the war in Iraq includes a visit to the camp of militants linked to al-Qaeda who were responsible for a series of suicide bombings in the Kurdish region, and he examines how U.S. preoccupation with toppling Saddam Hussein allowed many of these insurgents to escape to Iran, regroup, and later turn their jihad against the American occupation. McKiernan also examines the role of journalists in the run-up to the war as he tells how his Kurd-provided “scoop” about Iraqi scientists came to be used in U.S. claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Kevin McKiernan has been a war correspondent for over thirty years. He covered the Iraq war for ABC News in both Kurdish and Arab areas. Prior to that, he coproduced The Spirit of Crazy Horse for PBS Frontline and wrote and directed Good Kurds, Bad Kurds, the award-winning PBS documentary. McKiernan has published articles about and photographs of the Kurds in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, and other publications. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Kevin McKiernan has reported on the Kurds of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria since 1991, but he began his career as a journalist in the 1970s covering armed confrontations by Native Americans. In The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland he draws parallels—using examples of culture, language, and genocide—between Native American history and the experience of the Kurds. With a population of more than twenty-five million, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state, but until recently their long struggle for autonomy has received relatively little attention. Following World War I, the Kurds were promised a homeland, but the dream collapsed amid pressures of Turkish nationalism and the Allied realignment of the Middle East. For the remainder of the century, the story of the Kurds was one of almost constant conflict, as Middle East governments repressed Kurdish culture, language, and politics, destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages, made the Kurds "disappear" and even gassed them—often as the West provided military assistance or simply looked away.

The Kurds are politically and ideologically diverse and were never a "nation" in the modern sense, but their struggles for self-determination have been repeatedly betrayed by outside powers. Yet in 1996, a Syrian Kurd would boldly inform the author that the Kurds "were a key to the stability of the Middle East"—prophetic words today, McKiernan writes, as the fallout from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and other developments join to make Kurdish independence a likely, if not imminent, prospect.

McKiernan mixes Middle East history with personal narrative, as he comes face to face with Kurdish refugees in the mountains of Iraq and Iran, a hidden war in Turkey, guerrilla safe houses in Syria and Lebanon, backpacking trips behind army lines, scrapes with hostile soldiers, and, finally, the discovery that his personal translator during the Iraq war was also a spy for Saddam Hussein. His complex portrait of the Kurds includes interviews with Jalal Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq, members of the legendary Barzani family, and Abdullah Ocalan, the now-imprisoned leader of the lengthy Kurdish uprising in Turkey. Interwoven throughout is the story of the author's charming and resilient driver who survived a terrorist attack in Iraq, and the American doctors who nursed him back to health.

McKiernan's coverage of the war in Iraq includes a visit to the camp of militants linked to al-Qaeda who were responsible for a series of suicide bombings in the Kurdish region, and he examines how U.S. preoccupation with toppling Saddam Hussein allowed many of these insurgents to escape to Iran, regroup, and later turn their jihad against the American occupation. McKiernan also examines the role of journalists in the run-up to the war as he tells how his Kurd-provided "scoop" about Iraqi scientists came to be used in U.S. claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"This searing record of many decades of 'secret horror,' of scandalous betrayal, and willful silence could not be more timely or important. Written from intimate knowledge and rich personal experience in war and peace, laced with sympathy and understanding, this remarkable memoir-history is at once painful and inspiring. It provides incomparable insight into the suffering and courage and undying hopes of people who have suffered far too much, not least at our hands."—Noam Chomsky
"This searing record of many decades of 'secret horror,' of scandalous betrayal, and willful silence could not be more timely or important. Written from intimate knowledge and rich personal experience in war and peace, laced with sympathy and understanding, this remarkable memoir-history is at once painful and inspiring. It provides incomparable insight into the suffering and courage and undying hopes of people who have suffered far too much, not least at our hands."—Noam Chomsky

"Kevin McKiernan's astonishing book is investigative journalism at its best. He lays bare the open secret of Kurdish genocide that fuses past to present, the Then to Now. His storytellers offer us an oral history that reveals the sources of all genocide. It is as contemporary and prophetic as tomorrow's news."—Studs Terkel
 
"Kevin McKiernan demonstrates what hard work, insight, and familiarity can produce—a wholly refreshing and informative piece of journalism. His countless days and nights in Kurdistan provide a window on an immensely complex and important society, not merely its renowned tragedies and betrayals, but its vibrancy and potential. This may be the best work on the Kurdish people in Iraq that has ever been written. A must read."—John Tirman, executive director, MIT Center for International Studies, author of Spoils of War: The Human Cost of Americas Arms Trade

“Kevin McKiernan turns an unblinking eye on the Kurds, warts and all, and presents vivid accounts of some of their lives. He also tells us much about the life of a journalist committed to tell his reader truths obtained at great cost to himself."—E. Roger Owen, the A. J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University

 
"The world's largest ethnic group without a state of their own, the Kurds saw their historic lands divided by colonial powers early in the last century, and their recent history at the hands of the Turkish, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian governments has been dismal. In this groundbreaking book, experienced war reporter McKiernan traces the path of the Kurds since 1975. It's a journey planted in realpolitik and signposted by poverty, genocide, terrorism, war and, finally, maybe, liberation. As McKiernan recounts his travels among the Kurds, a picture emerges of a diverse and disconnected people, riven by internal disputes even as they are set upon by rapacious foreign rulers. McKiernan's engrossing tale—told in the first person—brings to life a population that, despite its geopolitical importance, has rarely been covered so thoroughly for a general audience."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Synopsis:

A gripping front-line portrait of the Kurdish people during the buildup to war and its aftermath by a journalist who has covered the region for over a decade.

Synopsis:

Kevin McKiernan has reported on the Kurds of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria since 1991, but he began his career as a journalist in the 1970s covering armed confrontations by Native Americans. In The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland he draws parallels---using examples of culture, language, and genocide---between Native American history and the experience of the Kurds. With a population of more than twenty-five million, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state, but until recently their long struggle for autonomy has received relatively little attention. Following World War I, the Kurds were promised a homeland, but the dream collapsed amid pressures of Turkish nationalism and the Allied realignment of the Middle East. For the remainder of the century, the story of the Kurds was one of almost constant conflict, as Middle East governments repressed Kurdish culture, language, and politics, destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages, "disappeared" and even gassed the Kurds---often as the West provided military assistance or simply looked away.

The Kurds are politically and ideologically diverse and were never a "nation" in the modern sense, but their struggles for self-determination have been repeatedly betrayed by outside powers. Yet in 1996, a Syrian Kurd would boldly inform the author that the Kurds "were a key to the stability of the Middle East"---prophetic words today, McKiernan writes, as the fallout from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and other developments join to make Kurdish independence a likely, if not imminent, prospect.

McKiernan mixes Middle East history with personal narrative, as he comes face-to-face with Kurdish refugees in the mountains of Iraq and Iran, a hidden war in Turkey, guerrilla safe houses in Syria and Lebanon, backpacking trips behind army lines, scrapes with hostile soldiers, and, finally, the discovery that his personal translator during the Iraq war was also a spy for Saddam Hussein. His complex portrait of the Kurds includes interviews with Jalal Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq, members of the legendary Barzani family, and Abdullah Ocalan, the now-imprisoned leader of the lengthy Kurdish uprising in Turkey. Interwoven throughout is the story of the author's charming and resilient driver who survived a terrorist attack in Iraq, and the American doctors who nursed him back to health.

McKiernan's coverage of the war in Iraq includes a visit to the camp of militants linked to al-Qaeda who were responsible for a series of suicide bombings in the Kurdish region, and he examines how U.S. preoccupation with toppling Saddam Hussein allowed many of these insurgents to escape to Iran, regroup, and later turn their jihad against the American occupation. McKiernan also examines the role of journalists in the run-up to the war as he tells how his Kurd-provided "scoop" about Iraqi scientists came to be used in U.S. claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

About the Author

Kevin McKiernan has been a war correspondent for over thirty years. He covered the Iraq war for ABC News in both Kurdish and Arab areas. Prior to that, he coproduced The Spirit of Crazy Horse for PBS Frontline and wrote and directed Good Kurds, Bad Kurds, the award-winning PBS documentary. McKiernan has published articles about and photographs of the Kurds in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time and other publications. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312325466
Subtitle:
A People in Search of Their Homeland
Author:
Mckiernan, Kevin
Author:
McKiernan, Kevin
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Subject:
Middle East
Subject:
International
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
Kurds
Subject:
Ethnic identity
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20060307
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Plus one 16-page bandw photo insert
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 x 1.38 in

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History and Social Science » Middle East » Kurds

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Product details 400 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312325466 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A gripping front-line portrait of the Kurdish people during the buildup to war and its aftermath by a journalist who has covered the region for over a decade.
"Synopsis" by ,
Kevin McKiernan has reported on the Kurds of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria since 1991, but he began his career as a journalist in the 1970s covering armed confrontations by Native Americans. In The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland he draws parallels---using examples of culture, language, and genocide---between Native American history and the experience of the Kurds. With a population of more than twenty-five million, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state, but until recently their long struggle for autonomy has received relatively little attention. Following World War I, the Kurds were promised a homeland, but the dream collapsed amid pressures of Turkish nationalism and the Allied realignment of the Middle East. For the remainder of the century, the story of the Kurds was one of almost constant conflict, as Middle East governments repressed Kurdish culture, language, and politics, destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages, "disappeared" and even gassed the Kurds---often as the West provided military assistance or simply looked away.

The Kurds are politically and ideologically diverse and were never a "nation" in the modern sense, but their struggles for self-determination have been repeatedly betrayed by outside powers. Yet in 1996, a Syrian Kurd would boldly inform the author that the Kurds "were a key to the stability of the Middle East"---prophetic words today, McKiernan writes, as the fallout from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and other developments join to make Kurdish independence a likely, if not imminent, prospect.

McKiernan mixes Middle East history with personal narrative, as he comes face-to-face with Kurdish refugees in the mountains of Iraq and Iran, a hidden war in Turkey, guerrilla safe houses in Syria and Lebanon, backpacking trips behind army lines, scrapes with hostile soldiers, and, finally, the discovery that his personal translator during the Iraq war was also a spy for Saddam Hussein. His complex portrait of the Kurds includes interviews with Jalal Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq, members of the legendary Barzani family, and Abdullah Ocalan, the now-imprisoned leader of the lengthy Kurdish uprising in Turkey. Interwoven throughout is the story of the author's charming and resilient driver who survived a terrorist attack in Iraq, and the American doctors who nursed him back to health.

McKiernan's coverage of the war in Iraq includes a visit to the camp of militants linked to al-Qaeda who were responsible for a series of suicide bombings in the Kurdish region, and he examines how U.S. preoccupation with toppling Saddam Hussein allowed many of these insurgents to escape to Iran, regroup, and later turn their jihad against the American occupation. McKiernan also examines the role of journalists in the run-up to the war as he tells how his Kurd-provided "scoop" about Iraqi scientists came to be used in U.S. claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

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