The Crossing Place: A Journey Among the Armenians

Philip Marsden, Author, Peter Sourian, Designed by
Philip Marsden, Author, Peter Sourian, Designed by Kodansha America $14 (248p) ISBN 978-1-56836-052-2
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-00-637667-5
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Nothing makes a better case for comparing the executions of Turkey's Armenian population during WWI to those of Europe's Jews in WWII than Hitler's dictum ``After all, who now remembers the Armenians?'' Well, Marsden, for one. In his search for the Armenian diaspora, the English author of A Far Country: Travels in Ethiopia traveled through the Levant at the height of the Gulf War and through Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain--17 countries in all. After visiting Armenian communities in Venice and Jerusalem, Marsden went to Beirut, long ``Armenia's unofficial capital-in-exile'' (that Beirut is a haven itself speaks volumes). The Armenian network in the Middle East proved enormously resourceful, helping Marsden across dangerous borders with uncanny efficiency. By contrast, the Eastern European Armenians were less cohesive--in part, no doubt, because many trace their exile to 1064 and because, as Christians in Christian countries, their integration was easier. There is much history here, added layer by layer, but Marsden's real strength is in his descriptions and in his willingness to put himself at the mercy of circumstances during a raw and tumultuous time. (Apr.)
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