Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe

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9781566636469: Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe
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In the modern Greek city of Thessaloniki, the ruins of a vast Jewish cemetery lie buried under the city’s university. Nearby is the site of the childhood home of one of the founders of the modern Turkish state. These are tantalizing reminders of what was once the bustling cosmopolitan city of Salonica, home not just to Greeks but to thousands of Sephardic Jews, Turks, Bulgarians, and Armenians living and working peacefully alongside one another.

Thessaloniki is just one example among many of what used to be. Over the past two centuries, ethnic cleansing has remade the map of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, transforming vast empires that embraced many ethnic groups into nearly homogenous nations. Towns and cities from Germany to Turkey still show traces of the vanished and nearly forgotten ethnic and religious communities that once called these places home.

In Terrible Fate, Benjamin Lieberman describes the violent transformations that occurred in Salonica and hundreds of other towns and cities as the Ottoman, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and German empires collapsed, to be reborn as the modern nation-states we know today. His book is the first comprehensive history of this process that has involved the murder and forced migration of tens of millions of people. Drawing upon eyewitness accounts, contemporary journalism, and diplomatic records, Lieberman’s story sweeps across the continent, taking the reader from ethnic cleansing’s earliest beginnings in Bulgaria, Greece, and Russia in the nineteenth century, through the rise of nationalism, both world wars, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, and the rise and fall of the Soviet empire, up to the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Along the way he examines the decisive roles of political leaders—not only monarchs and dictators but also those who were democratically elected—as well as ordinary people who often required very little encouragement to rob and brutalize their neighbors, or who were simply caught up in the tide of history.

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About the Author:

Benjamin Lieberman is professor of history at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts. A graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago, he has also written From Recovery to Catastrophe, a study of Weimar Germany. He lives in Maynard, Massachusetts.

Review:

Lieberman's narrative of the development of ethnic cleansing is convincing, objective, and readable . . . an outstanding book that needs to be read by all who want to understand the ethnic violence of the modern world. (Hunt Tooley)

A convincing analysis. . . . Highly recommended for students of European History and the general reader. (Cathie Carmichael)

An excellent study. . . . Lieberman illuminates with great skill and keen analysis. (John Weiss)

A convincing argument. . . . [Lieberman] is to be commended for his knowledge of so many cases of ethnically driven violence. (Publishers Weekly)

Compelling. . . . The only hope for an end to this terrible march of horrors is for people to understand and acknowledge it. (Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University; author of Denying the Holocaust The Weekly Standard)

If history can aid reconciliation by revealing atrocities, then Lieberman has certainly done more than his fair share with this book. (Noah Strote Forward)

Lieberman weaves a well-argued narrative around competing themes of nationalism, war, and ethnic cleansing. (CHOICE)

Raises several important issues in order to impose some analytic rigor. (Kurt Jonassohn American Historical Review)

Lieberman argues persuasively . . . [and] writes about one of the least reported instances of ethnic cleansing in modern history. (Adam LeBor Nation)

The analysis and detail make this an important book on an uncharted topic. (MND Jewish Book World)

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9781442223196: Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe

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ISBN 10:  1442223197 ISBN 13:  9781442223196
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013
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