Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922

Giles Milton, Author . Basic $27.95 (426p) ISBN 978-0-465-01119-3

Smyrna was a prosperous, cosmopolitan port on Turkey's Aegean coast where Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Jews and other nationalities lived in harmony. In his searingly vivid account of Smyrna's destruction by the Turks in 1922, acclaimed popular historian Milton (Nathaniel's Nutmeg ) begins with a fairy tale–like description of the city focused lopsidedly on the wealthy European dynasties known as Levantines. But Milton renders an astute account of the clash of Greek and Turkish nationalisms and the unhelpful meddling of Western powers, particularly Britain, which supported a Greek incursion into Turkey. When the defending Turkish troops under Mustafa Kemal (aka Ataturk) took Smyrna in September 1922, a horrific killing spree of Greeks and Armenians began, and hundreds of thousands of refugees were trapped on the quayside between the sea and a city willfully torched by the Turks as a score of foreign vessels looked on. Milton draws on eyewitness accounts to render these events in all their horror, and ends with an almost incredible rescue led by an unlikely hero. Milton powerfully renders this tragic tale of an army that came to “liberate” Smyrna and instead massacred its citizens and burned their prize to the ground in a vengeful frenzy. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/16/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 426 pages - 978-0-340-83787-0
Hardcover - 426 pages - 978-0-340-83786-3
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-465-01891-8
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