London : Taderon Press, 2006,
440 pp, maps,
ISBN 1-903656-54-0, paperback,
UK£15.00 / US$24.00
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April 1915 is probably one of the most ambitious literary accounts of the destruction of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915. It is historically perceptive and intellectually challenging. The background to the book is formed by the Allied Gallipoli campaign, the Ottoman army’s siege of Van, and Turkish nationalist chauvinism. Tahta examines the period through the personal lives of four families in Constantinople and the provinces as the ravages of war and ideology destroy Armenians and the Ottoman Empire. Written in 57 chapters, the narrative flows seamlessly. The initial chapters are gentle and endearing, but the work becomes highly disturbing, as persecution and massacre take hold. The critical date, around which the book revolves, is 24 April 1915.