01 August 2015

3565) Book Review “They Can Live In The Desert But Nowhere Else”: A History Of The Armenian Genocide

by Ronald Grigor Suny. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015

Reviewed by Edward J. Erickson

Professor Ronald Grigor Suny is a distinguished scholar and a well-published historian. He is known for his body of work specializing in Armenian history and affairs. The title of the book comes from a conversation that American ambassador Henry Morgenthau reported he had with Ottoman interior minister Talat Pasha in early August 1915 (p. 269–270), which Suny purports to show that Talat had solved the Armenian “problem” in a particularly brutal manner. The introduction presents Professor Suny’s thesis is a roundabout manner, which is to explain that the Young Turks (the alleged perpetrators of a genocide) had an “affective disposition” that “allowed them, indeed in their minds required them, to eliminate whole peoples”

(p. xx). Essentially, Suny argues that the Young Turks’ cognitive and emotional state demonstrated by their observed behavior and actions in 1915 proves a genocide.

While this kind of argument may be suitable for forensic psychologists, historians rarely attempt it because of the dictum that correlation does not prove causation. . . . . .

Direct Link.


Observer2009 said...

Ericson provides an insightful and informative review of Suny's book, basically shredding Suny's observations into pieces and allowing them to blow in the wind. Suny likes jumping to conclusions from perceptions and convicting via circumstantial "evidence", totally ignoring the adage "correlation does not prove causation." Ignoring the Ottoman archives and basing his conclusions on hearsay and forgeries, Suny's meaningless drivel is finally exposed for what it is...

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