The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey

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9780618982660: The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey
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An epic tale of one man’s courage in the face of genocide and his granddaughter’s quest to tell his story

In the heart of the Ottoman Empire as World War I rages, Stepan Miskjian’s world becomes undone. He is separated from his family as they are swept up in the government’s mass deportation of Armenians into internment camps. Gradually realizing the unthinkable—that they are all being driven to their deaths—he fights, through starvation and thirst, not to lose hope. Just before killing squads slaughter his caravan during a forced desert march, Stepan manages to escape, making a perilous six-day trek to the Euphrates River carrying nothing more than two cups of water and one gold coin. In his desperate bid for survival, Stepan dons disguises, outmaneuvers gendarmes, and, when he least expects it, encounters the miraculous kindness of strangers.

The Hundred-Year Walk alternates between Stepan’s saga and another journey that takes place a century later, after his family discovers his long-lost journals. Reading this rare firsthand account, his granddaughter Dawn MacKeen finds herself first drawn into the colorful bazaars before the war and then into the horrors Stepan later endured. Inspired to retrace his steps, she sets out alone to Turkey and Syria, shadowing her resourceful, resilient grandfather across a landscape still rife with tension. With his journals guiding her, she grows ever closer to the man she barely knew as a child. Their shared story is a testament to family, to home, and to the power of the human spirit to transcend the barriers of religion, ethnicity, and even time itself.

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Praise for The Hundred-Year Walk

Part family heirloom, part history lesson, The Hundred-Year Walk is an emotionally poignant work, powerfully imagined and expertly crafted. The considerable archival scaffolding remains invisible as MacKeen carries her readers on an emotional journey full of heartache and hope.
Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan s Inheritance

In her remarkable book, The Hundred-Year Walk, Dawn MacKeen has taken the Armenian genocide and shown us its terrifying flesh, blood, bone, and sinew. Her vehicle is her grandfather s forced deportation, and she uses it to take the reader on a horrific ride into the heart of one of history s darkest moments. S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon

I am in awe of what Dawn MacKeen has done here. With the meticulousness of an historian, the courage of an investigative reporter, and the compassion of a daughter mining a fraught and cherished family legacy, MacKeen has accomplished the near impossible. She has elucidated a complicated ethnic and political history through a delightfully literary lens. Her sentences sing. Her research shines. Her readers will be rapt and a lot smarter by the end. Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion

It s so easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of wars and atrocities that continually afflict our tragic species. But Dawn MacKeen has found a hauntingly personal way to evoke one such epic disaster, Turkey s mass deportation and extermination of Armenians during World War I the twentieth century s first genocide. By telling the riveting story of her grandfather Stepan, who like the armies of refugees today overcame daunting odds as he braved the Turkish gauntlet of death and walked across desert sands to safety, MacKeen drives home that we re all part of the human family. The Hundred-Year Walk is an unforgettable contribution to the literature of suffering and memory, and to the growing conviction that we must say Never again to the mass destruction of human life and culture. David Talbot, founder of Salon.com and author of The Devil s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America s Secret Government
"

About the Author:

DAWN ANAHID MACKEEN is an award-winning investigative journalist who spent nearly a decade on her grandfather’s story. Previously she was a staff writer at Salon, Newsday, and Smart Money. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She lives in Southern California.

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