July 29, 2015

A Handful of Bullets

by Stanley A. Weiss

Review of A Handful of Bullets by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 226 pages)

LONDON-On June 28, 1914, in the city of Sarajevo, a teenage Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, shot and killed the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie. Widely believed to have been a product of Serbian government intrigue, the assassinations led to an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on that nation the following month. By end of the next week the continent’s rigid alliance structure had sucked every other major European country into the vortex of escalating hostilities that became World War I.

The conflict ended four years and four months later with 17 million dead. The Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman Empires were shattered. The diplomatic order that emerged from the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars was no more. These were massive, almost incomprehensible, consequences that seemed incompatible in scale with the cause. Many wonder now, a century later, could such an almost accidental cataclysm happen again?

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July 27, 2015

On The Monster’s Back: Heroism, Love, and Survival

by Stanley A. Weiss

On the Monster’s Back remembers how one Armenian survived genocide by Robert D. Lamson (CreateSpace, 328 pages) 

LONDON-The story has been told so often it is surprising that more people aren’t familiar with it, or that it doesn’t weigh more heavily upon us. Reputedly, when Hitler decided to go forward with the Holocaust, he was warned that history would not forget or forgive him. His response? “Who remembers the Armenians?”-

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, regarded by the heirs of its victims to be the first attempt by a modern government to wipe out an entire racial, religious, or cultural group. In On The Monster’s Back: Heroism, Love and Survival, Robert D. Lamson reminds readers of the forced removal during World War I that took the lives of upwards of one million Armenians (Greek and Assyrian populations, also targeted, suffered in similar magnitudes) in what was first the Ottoman Empire and then Turkey. He tells the story of how one young man survived.

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