Synopses & Reviews
On April 24, 1915, Grigoris Balakian was arrested along with some 250 other leaders of Constantinople's Armenian community. It was the beginning of the Ottoman Empire's systematic attempt to eliminate the Armenian people from Turkey — a campaign that continued through World War I and the fall of the empire. Over the next four years, Balakian would bear witness to a seemingly endless caravan of blood, surviving to recount his miraculous escape and expose the atrocities that led to over a million deaths.
Armenian Golgotha is Balakian's devastating eyewitness account — a haunting reminder of the first modern genocide and a controversial historical document that is destined to become a classic of survivor literature.
"A fascinating first-hand testimony to a monumental crime." The New Yorker
"Gripping. . . . A powerful and important book. . . . It takes its place as one of the key first-hand sources for understanding the Armenian Genocide." The New Republic
"Powerful. . . . Riveting. . . . A poignant, often harrowing story about the resiliency of the human spirit [and] a window on a moment in history that most Americans only dimly understand." Washington Post
"An immensely moving, harrowing memoir that instantly takes its place as a classic alongside Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz and Elie Wiesel's Night." The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Read this heartbreaking book. Armenian Golgotha describes the suffering, agony and massacre of innumerable Armenian families almost a century ago; its memory must remain a lesson for more than one generation." Elie Wiesel, author of Night
"Monumental. . . . Balakian provides strong evidence that these gruesome proceedings were carried out under official orders from the highest level. . . . For generations to come Armenian Golgotha will remain a first-hand documentation of a historic tragedy written from the perspective of a talented scholar." Boston Sunday Globe
"[A work] of exceptional interest and scholarship." Slate
"An essential memoir, a lively and extraordinary life story. . . . This is more than an eyewitness account, it is a masterful history in its own right." Seth J. Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post
About the Author
Born in 1876, Grigoris Balakian
was one of the leading Armenian intellectuals of his generation. In Ottoman Turkey he attended Armenian schools and seminary; and in Germany he studied, at different times, engineering and theology. He was one of the 250 cultural leaders (intellectuals, clergy, teachers, and political and community leaders) arrested by the Turkish government on the night of April 24, 1915, and deported to the interior. Unlike the vast majority of his conationals, he survived nearly four years in the killing fields. Ordained as a celibate priest (vartabed
) in 1901, he later became a bishop and prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church in southern France. He is the author of various books and monographs (some of them lost) on Armenian culture and history, including The Ruins of Ani
(1910) and Armenian Golgotha
, volume 1 (1922) and volume 2 (1959). He died in Marseilles in 1934.
Peter Balakian is the author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’ s Response, winner of the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize, a New York Times best seller, and a New York Times Notable Book; and of Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of Memoir, also a New York Times Notable Book. Grigoris Balakian was his great-uncle.