Welcome!

Hello! I’m Sam Amenn, host of the Art of Asymmetrical Warfare, a history podcast that focuses on asymmetrical warfare and colonialism/imperialism. I have a Masters in International Relations with a focus on insurgencies and state formation. My podcast utilizes a holistic approach to discuss one conflict per season. This means that I never talk about a conflict as if it’s occurring within a vacuum but pull in economic, political, and even cultural and social elements into the conversation when appropriate. To learn more about me and my podcast, watch our welcome video:

And list to the first episode from my podcast:

This website is meant to supplement the podcast, so not only will you find all of our podcast episodes on this website (as well as on Spotify and Itunes) but you’ll find articles, book reviews, and other fun content to enhance your learning experience. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram for content that isn’t suited for the audio or blog medium. We’ll also be launching a TikTok soon!

If you want to support my work, please join my Patreon where you will receive exclusive episodes available only through Patreon, access to ALL episodes before anyone else, community book club, have your name read at the end of the episode, and more!

Episode 33-the Russian Civil War: the Alash Orda and the White Army

After negotiations with the Bolsheviks stall, the Alash Orda turn to the White Movement in Siberia. What they find are endless political factions, Cossacks, numerous battles with the Red Army, and a White Army coup.

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Episode 32-the Russian Civil War: the Alash Orda and the Bolsheviks

The Russian Civil War knocks on the door of Siberia and the Steppe. The newly created Alash Autonomy must decide who they will ally with: the Bolsheviks or the White Army. Attracted by Bolshevik rhetoric, the Alash Orda start negotiates with the Soviets, but quickly learn that they have two, conflicting definitions of “self-determination”

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Episode 31-Kolesov Bukharan Campaign or How not to Invade Bukhara

The Tashkent Soviet just overthrew the Kokand Autonomy and now they rule Turkestan which is being threatened from all directions by famine, the Red and White Armies, the Basmachi, and violent tensions between the Russian Settlers and the indigenous peoples. So, obviously, the bests thing to do is invade their name the Bukharan Khanate.

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Episode 30-Mustafa Cho’qoy “Imperialist Bogeyman from Turkestan

Mustafa Cho’qoy activist, minister, refugee, and Bolshevik enemy #1. Learn how a Kazakh activist went from being a minister in Turkestan’s first all Muslim, autonomous government to isolated expat in Paris struggling to get Europe to care about the plight of his people and Turkestan bogeyman that haunted Bolshevik dreams.

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References

Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR by Adeeb Khalid

Central Asia: a New History from the Imperial Conquests to the Present by Adeeb Khalid

The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform by Adeeb Khalid

Episode 29-The Kokand Autonomy

In November 1917, the Muslim modernizers of Turkestan came together to create the Kokand Autonomy. But how can people with no governing experience govern a region racked by ethnic violence and famine while their neighbors, the Tashkent Soviet, are planning an all out assault?

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The Russian Revolution and the Khivan Khanate

Introduction

What is a Khanate to do when his Russian supporters are overthrown by a revolution and he must now rely on a traitorous warlord to retain his throne? Read our article to learn about the Khivan Khanate during the Russian Revolution.

Listen to our episode or read our article below

Introduction

Last week we talked about the Russian Revolution and Central Asia, but we limited it to the urban areas of Turkestan and the Bukharan Emirate. Today, we’ll be discussing how Russia’s other protectorate, the Khiva Khanate, responded to the fall of the Tsars.

Khiva Under Russian Rule 1880-1916

As we discussed in our episode on Russian colonialism, Khiva was one of the two protectorates created by Tsarist Russia as it colonized Central Asia. It was smaller than Bukhara and not as wealthy or important to Russian officials, meaning the Khan could exercise great independence on how his territory was ruled, as long as he understood his protectorate was granted to him via Russian power. Khiva had been ruled by Muhammad Rahim until his death in 1910, when his son Isfendiyar took over. Isfendiyar passed minor reforms between 1910 and 1917 including support for a state budget, tax reform, and placing all government servants on a salary. He even supported the building of a reform madrasa and encourage the spread of the new-method schools championed by the Jadids. However, many of the reforms never became law and may have been lip service to keep the Russians at bay. Isfendiyar’s true focus was on his troublesome subjects the Turkmen.

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The Basmachi

Introduction

Famed but often misunderstood guerilla fighters, the Basmachi were an Islamic resistance force that targeted both the Bolsheviks and modernizing Islamic forces of Central Asia. This article provides a basic overview of their creation, organizational hierarchy, and talks about some of their most famous leaders.

Listen to our podcast episode or read the post below

We’ve spent considerable time exploring how the Russian Revolution affected Central Asia from several different perspectives. So far, we’ve talked about the Russian Settlers, the Alash Orda, the Jadids, and the Bukharan and Khivan Emirs. You may be thinking, that’s plenty of peoples and we’re ready to move onto 1918, but we have one more perspective to add and that’s the Basmachi, a guerrilla movement that reinvented itself numerous times during the 1920s and clashed with the Soviets from 1918 to the 1930s.

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Episode 28-The Basmachi

Famine, civil wars, complete breakdown of authority-it only makes sense to join a guerilla movement that promises provisions and safety, right? Learn about the Basmachi, a group of warlords turned guerilla movement that became one of the Soviet’s most persistent headaches in Central Asia during the 1920s and 30s.

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The Russian Revolution and Central Asia-1917

Introduction

Did you ever wonder how the Russian Revolution affected Central Asia? This episode discusses how the various political factions in Central Asia-the Jadids, Alash Orda, the Ulama, and the Russian Settlers-responded to the fall of the Tsar and the rise of the Bolsheviks.

Listen to our podcast episode or read the post below

When we last discussed Central Asia, they were in the midst of the 1916 Revolt, which is now seen as the harbinger of the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil Wars. Today we’ll discuss how the Russian Revolution affected Central Asia.

Russian Revolution in Russia

February Revolution

1917 is an odd year for Russia, because it’s a period were militarily-things were beginning to look up, but socially and politically, things were at their lowest. Even though Russia had seen its greatest military victory in 1916 (one that cost them an estimated 3 million killed, wounded, or taken prisoner) and it was correcting its production issues, it was still facing a massive supply crisis because of an overstrained and broken transport system. This meant shortages of food, fuel, and basic household goods, rapid inflation, and corruption within the government and its military suppliers. Most fatal of all was the complete lack of trust everyone had in the Russian government. Governmental officials were either unacceptably incompetent or German spies and traitors. Even the staunchly monarchist General Aleksei Brusilov admitted that “Russia could not win the war with its present system of government.” (Figes) Everyone agreed that Russia was on the brink of a great catastrophe, but no one could have predicted it would have been at the hands of women tired of queuing for bread.

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History in 5ish Minutes: Fathers of the Jadids in Turkestan

In this episode we discuss two giants within the Jadid movement in Turkestan: Munavvar qori Abdurashidxon and Mahmudxo’ja Behbudiy. Both men came from religious families, both men were successful merchants, and both men believed that reform was the only way to save Turkestani society.

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References:

Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR by Adeeb Khalid

Russian Colonial Society in Tashkent 1865-1923 by Jeff Sahadeo

The Russian Revolution and the Alash Orda-1917

Introduction

The Russian Revolution provided the Kazakh intellectuals an opportunity to create their own government and redistribute land that had been taken from them by Russian settlers. But what sort of government can you create when you and your fellow indigenous intellectuals can’t agree on the best way to rule and the Russian Civil War is at your doorstep?

Listen to our episode above or read our blog post version of our episode below:

It’s 1917 and Central Asia is adjusting to a Tsarless reality. To briefly recap, because a lot has already happened and it’s about to get even more complicated:

  • Russian settlers created the Tashkent Soviet in the city, Tashkent. It is purely Russian managed and was created in response to indigenous organizing.
  • Various indigenous peoples such as the Jadids, the Ulama, and even the Alash Orda spent all year organizing different organs of government, ending 1917 with the Kokand Autonomy. This is an independent state created in Kokand, a city that neighbors Tashkent, in response to the Tashkent Soviet.
  • The Bukharan Emir kicked out his Jadids and relied on conservative elements in his society to strengthen his hold on power before Russia returns.
  • The Khiva Khanate is dependent on a warlord that is planning a coup.

Up to this point, we’ve focused on an Uzbek/Tajik Jadid perspective. Today we’ll be switching focus to the Kazakh and Kyrgyz intellectuals in the Steppe and the creation of the Alash Orda government and the Autonomous Alash state.

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Episode 27-the Russian Revolution and the Alash Orda

The Russian Revolution provided the Kazakh intellectuals an opportunity to create their own government and redistribute land that had been taken from them by Russian settlers. But what sort of government can you create when you and your fellow indigenous intellectuals can’t agree on the best way to rule and the Russian Civil War is at your doorstep?

Palestinian support links:

If Charity

Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen

United Palestinian Appeal

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund

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Episode 26: The Russian Revolution and the Khiva Khanate

Today we are discussing how Russia’s second protectorate, the Khiva Khanate, reacted to the fall of the Romanov Dynasty. We’ll discuss Turkmen Revolts, a desperate Khan clinging to power, and a coup.

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Book Review: Lost Enlightenment by S. Frederick Starr and Polymaths of Islam by James Pickett

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr, published by Princeton University Press, 2013

Polymaths of Islam: Power and Networks of Knowledge in Central Asia by James Pickett, published by Cornell University Press, 2020

I enjoyed both books and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in how knowledge was developed and preserved in Central Asia. I did not plan to read these books together, but I think reading them back-to-back is beneficial as these books compliment each other so well.

Lost Enlightenment studies Central Asia’s Enlightenment from about 800 to 1200, with a particular focus on Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Sina and Abu Rayhan al-Biruni. The book is written in an easy to engage with prose. There is a lot of information, so re-reads are recommended, but I was never lost or felt overwhelmed. Overall, I found this book to be very eye-opening in terms to the depth of intellectual thought and development according in Central Asia from 800-1200 and I was introduced to several historical figures I either only heard about in passing or had never heard about. The pacing and structure of the book suffers from the vast scope of Starr’s narrative and while he tries to shape the book’s narrative around key events and key figures such as Ferdowsi, Ibn Sina, etc. there were parts of the book that felt disjointed or there were some chapters I would have liked to have seen broken into smaller chapters.

Polymaths of Islam studies the knowledge networks crafted specifically by the ulama of Central Asia. Pickett limits his exploration to the long 19th century, roughly from the collapse of Nadir Shah’s empire in 1747 to the rise of the Bolsheviks in the 1920s. This book is not as easy to engage with as Starr’s book, because Pickett has the daunting task of introducing multiple concepts and arguments at once and in an academic manner, but I would say that his book picks up in chapter three where he really begins talking about the formation of intelligence networks. The first two chapters are important for his overall argument, but if you’re not interested in terminology or academic argument building then you can skim them. Where Starr tripped because he was doing too much at once, Pickett benefits from his limited scope and simultaneously provided a, intimate and complicated portrayal of the ulama (challenging many assumptions) while also having the skill to take a step back and discuss the systematic developments that supported and hindered the ulama.

This review continues on our Patreon.

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Episode 25-The Russian Revolution and Central Asia

Did you ever wonder how the Russian Revolution affected Central Asia? This episode discusses how the various political factions in Central Asia-the Jadids, Alash Orda, the Ulama, and the Russian Settlers-responded to the fall of the Tsar and the rise of the Bolsheviks.

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Episode 24-Bird’s Eye View: What a Civil War Is and Isn’t

Tomorrow is our one year anniversary! To celebrate we posted our first ever Bird’s Eye View episode. This format allows us to take a step back and discuss the definitions, theories, and common features of an aspect of asymmetrical warfare. Today we’ll discuss what a civil war is and isn’t. Be warned, this episode contains mild dives into political theory.

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History in 5ish Minutes 5 Tactics the Russians Used during the Central Asian Revolt of 1916

Today we take a deep dive into the tactics the Russians used to suppress the Central Asian Revolt of 1916, discussing the Urkun Exodus, the mass reallocation of Steppe lands, and Kuropatkin’s decision to use an scorch earth strategy.

Transcript coming

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History in 5ish Minutes: 5 Tactics the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz Peoples Used during the Central Asian Revolt of 1916

During this episode we revisit the Central Asian Revolt of 1916, this time focusing on the tactics used by the indigenous rebels, particularly the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples in the Steppe. We’ll discuss their use of hit and run tactics, the advantages the Steppe provided, and their targeted assaults on major infrastructure.

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Episode 23-Interview with Dr. Adeeb Khalid

This is a very special episode as we discuss the Jadids with renowned scholar, Dr. Adeeb Khalid. The Jadids were an Islamic modernizing movement within Central Asia that would later find common cause with Bolsheviks and create modern day Uzbekistan. We’ll be discussing who the Jadids were, their doctrinal development, and how they fit within our narrative of the Russian and Central Asian Civil Wars.

Dr. Khalid is Professor of Asian Studies and History as well as director of Middle Eastern Studies at Carleton College. He is an expert in his field and published numerous works on Central Asia including Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Revolution, and Empire in the Early USSR and the Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia. He has a new book coming out this May, Central Asia: a New History from the Imperial Conquests to the Present which you can preorder at your favorite bookstore.

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History in 5ish Minutes: 5 Facts about the Tsarist Administration in Central Asia 1890-1916

5 facts about the Tsarist Administration in Central Asia 1890-1916

In this episode, we briefly discuss the Tsarist Administration in Central Asia, focusing on how the Russian administration created two societies one of the incoming Russian Settlers and one for the indigenous peoples. We also discuss the two biggest problems facing the Russian administration: land and the demand for political participation.

Transcript coming

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References

Knowledge and the Ends of Empire: Kazak Intermediaries and Russian Rule on the Steppe, 1731-1917 by Ian W. Campbell Published by Cornell University Press, 2017

Russia and Central Asia: Coexistence, Conquest, Coexistence by Shoshana Keller Published by University of Toronto Press, 2019

Russia’s Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva, 1865-1924 by Seymour Becker, Published by RoutledgeCurzon, 2004

Russian Colonial Society in Tashkent 1865-1923 by Jeff Sahadeo

Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR by Adeeb Khalid

“James Pickett, “Polymaths of Islam: Power and Networks of Knowledge in Central Asia” (Cornell UP, 2020) New Books in Central Asia Studies podcast, https://open.spotify.com/episode/6dMiIYmGolImL4gW9CpKwJ?si=LdcDCbJZSCOuIEebBWHlmA

Episode 22-the Central Asian Revolt of 1916

In this episode we discussed the Central Asian Revolt of 1916. Sparked by decades old administrative issues, the Russian settler’s “redistribution” of land and resources, and the Tsarist’s decision to conscription indigenous peoples (who up until that point that had been exemption of conscription), the revolution overtook most of Turkestan and lasted into 1917. In this episode we focus specifically on the actions that took part in Jizzakh (where the revolt began) and the Kazakh and Kyrgyz Steppes (where it morphed into a fight for existence).

Transcript coming

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History in 5ish Minutes: the 1898 Andijan Uprising

History in 5 Minutes: the 1898 Andijan Uprising

In this episode, we discuss 5 facts abou the 1898 Andijan Uprising, discussing Madali Ishan’s revolt against Russian colonialism in Central Asia and stoking paranoid Islamophobia.

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Episode 21-Russian Colonialism in Central Asia 1860-1890

During this episode we will briefly discuss Russian colonialism in Central Asia from 1860-1890, focusing on the how and why. We’ll discuss the subsuming of Steppe Lands, the abolishment of the Kokand Khanate, the subjugation of the Bukharan and Khivan khanates, and the attacks on the Turkmen people of the Ferghana Valley.

Transcript

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Episode 20-Interview with James Nagle

Today we have a very special episode where we spoke to James Nagle about what life was like for an average IRA recruit and a British soldier. If you enjoyed our big picture overview but want to dive deeper into what life was like for an IRA recruit on the run, a civilian having to please both the IRA and the British, or a Black and Tan riding a convoy worried about an ambush, this is the interview for you!

James is the host of the Irish Nation Lives, a history document on YouTube about the Irish War of Independence. Be sure to check his videos out and follow James on Twitter!

Episode 19-A BRIEF History of Central Asia

It’s season 2 of the Art of Asymmetrical Warfare! This season we’ll be discussing the Central Asian Civil Wars during the Russian Civil War.

Today, we’re starting with a BRIEF history of Central Asia. In this episode we’ll explain how this podcast defines Central Asia, give a very brief overview of Central Asia’s ancient and fascinating history, ending with Russia’s conquest of Central Asia (1839-1895), and detail what we hope to cover during season two.

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History in 5ish minutes 5 facts about Arthur Griffith

History in 5ish minute: 5 Facts About Arthur Griffith

Welcome to History in 5ish minutes, a new episode format in which we discuss a historical event or person in roughly 5 minutes. Today we’ll be discussing the 5 facts about Arthur griffith

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Ways to Help Win the Georgia Runoff Election

Register to Vote by December 7th (especially if you’re goig to turn 18 by January 5th)

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Phonebank with Jon Ossoff

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History in 5ish minutes: 5 tactics the IRA used to defeat the British during the Irish War of Independence

Welcome to History in 5ish minutes, a new episode format in which we discuss a historical event or person in roughly 5 minutes. Today we’ll be discussing the 5 tactics the IRA used to defeat the British during the Irish War of Independence

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Episode 18-Interview With Jesse Alexander

We are excited to talk to Jesse Alexander, host of the YouTube History Documentary the Great War. We discussed how asymmetrical warfare developed during the immediate interwar period, following World War I, as well as his newest project, Rhineland 45, which he is currently crowdfunding.

Learn more about Rhineland 45 and support the project here

Learn more about Jesse Alexander and the Realtime History Production company

Follow Jesse Alexander and the Great War on Twitter

Watch the Great War on Youtube

Support the Realtime History Production company on Patreon

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Episode 17-the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty

In today’s episode we discuss the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, including the many controversial decisions made by DeValera during the Truce, the struggle Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Michael Collins, and Arthur Griffith faced from internal and external stakeholders during the negotiations, and the tragic fracture that occurred within the Irish people after the Dail approved the Treaty.

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Episode 16-Cathal Brugha and the Irish War of Independence

Today we’ll be discussing Cathal Brugha’s role during the Irish War of Independence, including his struggles as minister of defense, his difficult relationship with Collins and Mulcahy, and his role in the Treaty debates.

Transcript

Voting Links:

Indivisible IL 09 Twitter Page

Indivisible Chicago Twitter Page

Indivisible Chicago South Side Twitter Page

Virus Free Voting

Payback Project

Protecting Ruth Ginsberg’s Seat Until After the Election

Resources

Irish Nation Lives Episode on Cathal Brugha

Cathal Brugha by Fergus O’Farrell 2018, University College Dublin Press

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

Episode 15-Cathal Brugha and Easter Rising

Episode 15-Cathal Brugha and Easter Rising

Today we’ll be discussing Cathal Brugha and his role in the Gaelic League, Easter Rising, and the creation of Sinn Fein and the IRA.

Transcript

Voting Links:

Indivisible IL 09 Twitter Page

Indivisible Chicago Twitter Page

Indivisible Chicago South Side Twitter Page

Virus Free Voting

Payback Project

Protecting Ruth Ginsberg’s Seat Until After the Election

Resources

Irish Nation Lives Episode on Cathal Brugha’s Expedition to London

Irish Nation Lives Episode on Cathal Brugha

Cathal Brugha by Fergus O’Farrell 2018, University College Dublin Press

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

Episode 14-Northern Ireland and the Irish War of Independence

Episode 14-Northern Ireland and the Irish War for Independence

Today we discuss Northern Ireland and the role it played during the Irish War Of Independence, discussing figures such as James Craig, Edward Carson, and David Lloyd George.

Transcript

Donation Links for California:

Direct Relief Wildfire Relief

Election links:

Illinois Virus Free voting

References

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/james-craig-backbone-of-revolt-the-soul-of-intransigence-1.508452

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/ireland-s-first-world-war-veterans-shunned-ostracised-murdered-1.3691036

https://www.irishnews.com/news/easterrising/2016/03/26/news/1916-46-000-from-belfast-volunteered-for-first-world-war-443443/

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

History in 5ish Minute: 5 Ways the IRA Disrupted the British Prison System

Welcome to History in 5ish minutes, a new episode format in which we discuss a historical event or person in roughly 5 mintues. Today we’ll be discussing the 5 ways the 1920s IRA and the Provisional IRA disrupted the British Prison System.

Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hittle, 2011, Potomac Books

Pawns in the Game: Irish Hunger Strikes 1912-1981 by Barry Flynn, 2012, Collins Press

Last Weapons: Hunger Strikes and Fasts in the British Empire, 1890-1948 by Kevin Grant, 2019, University of California Press

Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA by Richard English, 2005, Oxford University Press

Green Against Green by Mihcael Hopkinson, 2004, Gill Books

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Mayhem in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe, 2019, Doubleday

Episode 13 Michael Collins’ Intelligence War

Episode 13-Michael Collins’ Intelligence War

Today we discuss Michael Collins and his intelligence war including the formation of the Squad, his spies such as Ned Broy, David Neligan, and James MacNamara, and Bloody Sunday

Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References:

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hittle, 2011, Potomac Books

Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State by Gabriel Doherty, 1998, Mercier Press

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/michael-collins-the-squad

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-30939952.html

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/michael-collins-the-squad

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/michael-collins-twelve-apostles-who-was-in-charge

https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/spies-in-the-castle-michael-collins

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/michael-collins-s-women-spies-couriers-and-mothers-1.3071543

Episode 12-Hunger Strikes During the Irish War of Independence

 

In this episode, we discuss the role of hunger strikes during the Irish War of Independence, including the story of Thomas Ashe, the Mountjoy Prison and General Strike of 1918, and Terence MacSwiney.

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Book Review for Making Uzbekistan by Adeeb Khalid

Rating: 5/5

Pros:

  • A comprehensive exploration into the creation of Uzbekistan and its neighboring states
  • A long overdue overview of an often-neglected region of the world
  • Well-researched and detail heavy but still easy to read

Cons:

  • Need to know a little about the region before reading
  • Is VERY detail heavy and needs to be reread to catch everything
  • Would have liked more info on the military campaigns waged by the Soviets

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Episode 11-Interview with Dr. Mary McAuliffe

 

We are very excited to interview Dr. Mary McAuliffe about her new biography on Margaret Skinnider and the experience of Irish women during the Irish War for Independence and the Irish Civil War.

Buy Dr. McAuliffe’s biography on Margaret Skinnider here: http://www.ucdpress.ie/display.asp?isbn=9781910820537&

Follow Dr. McAuliffe of Twitter: https://twitter.com/marymcauliffe4

If you enjoyed this episode, please donate to our Ko-Fi

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

Episode 10-Richard Mulcahy and the Irish War of Independence

In this episode we discuss Richard Mulcahy’s role as Chief of Staff of the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, including his efforts to instill discipline and organization, his difficult relationship with Brugha and DeValera, and his increased radicalization.

If you enjoyed this episode, please donate to our Ko-Fi

Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

BLM Links

Breathe Act

The Black National Convention

100 Days until Election

Three States One Mission

Movement for Black Lives

SURJ Chicago

Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

8toAbolition

Episode References

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Valiulis, M. G. (1993). Portrait of a Revolutionary: General Richard Mulcahy and the Founding of the Irish Free State. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

Episode 9-Richard Mulcahy and Easter Rising

In this episode we talk about IRA”s chief of Staff, Richard Mulcahy’s role in Easter Rising and the efforts to rebuild the IRA up to 1919.

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

BLM Links

Movement for Black Lives
SURJ Chicago
Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
8toAbolition

Episode References

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

Valiulis, M. G. (1993). Portrait of a Revolutionary: General Richard Mulcahy and the Founding of the Irish Free State. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

OBrien, P. (2012). Field of fire: The Battle of Ashbourne, 1916. Dublin: New Island.

https://www.rte.ie/archives/exhibitions/1993-easter-1916/portraits-1916/792906-portraits-1916-richard-mulcahy/

https://www.thepensivequill.com/2020/06/richard-mulcahy-from-politics-of-war-to.html

The 1916 Series: The Battle of Ashbourne

https://historywithatwist.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/easter-1916-the-forgotten-battle/

https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/ashbourne

 

Episode 8: Anglo-Irish War Part III 1921

Before we begin, we want to make it clear that this podcast and website knows Black Lives Matter and support the protesters demanding justice and arguing for the abolition of the police. There are links below on how we can help support the movement and challenge our own prejudices and educate ourselves.

This is the third and final episode in our three part special about the Anglo-Irish War. In this episode we briefly discuss Britain’s final attempts to defeat the IRA, DeValera’s return to Ireland and his attempts to exert control over the war, Mulcahy’s efforts to reorganize the IRA to ensure its survival, and the events that lead up to the truce.

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

BLM Links

Movement for Black Lives
SURJ Chicago
Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
8toAbolition

Episode References

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hitte

Eamon DeValera by Ronan Fanning, 2016, Harvard University Press

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

 

Overview of the Members of the GHQ Staff

 

In last week’s episode (included above), I talked about how the IRA organized itself, the tactics it used, and its relationship with members of the Dail. Since then, I’ve done some research into the members that made up the General Headquarters Staff. I even made a spreadsheet, capturing basic information about the men: GHQ Spreadsheet

Screenshot_2020-05-15 Members of IRA GHQ Staff - Members of IRA GHQ Staff pdf

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Episode 5 IRA: Formation and Organization

In this episode we talk about the IRA as an organization, how it was formed, the many different command structures it tried, its tactics, it’s relationship with civilian ministers, and the relationship between ground troops and General Headquarters

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References:

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hitte, 2011, Potomac Books

Green Against Green: the Irish Civil War by Michael Hopkinson, 2004, Gill Books

Episode 4-The First Dail

Episode 4- The First Dail

In this episode we talk about the creation of the first Dail and its relation with the IRA

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References:

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Eamon DeValera by Ronan Fanning, 2016, Harvard University Press

Episode 3-Ireland 1917-1918: Resurrecting a Rebellion

In this episode we talk about Ireland between 1917 and 1918, focusing on how Sinn Fein and the Irish Volunteers were able to rebuild themselves after Easter Rising.

Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

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Irish Women Who went on Hunger Strike

Hunger strikes are a familiar weapon in the war against colonial policies and wrongful imprisonment. Although today it is associated primarily with Gandhi or with the IRA, like Bobby Sands, it is an old tactic practiced all over the world and by all genders, such as revolutionaries in Imperial Russia, suffragettes in Britain and the U.S., and men kept in Guantanamo or the U.S.’s concentration camps on the American-Mexican border.

The tactic of voluntarily giving up food until a political demand is won, originated with the Russian Revolutionaries in the 1890s. It is a versatile weapon that requires utmost dedication from the striker while placing all the moral and legal responsibility on the oppressor and highlighting the wretched conditions that enables a striker to go on hunger strike in the first place.

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Episode 2-Women of Easter Rising

 

This episode will talk about five women who contributed to Easter Rising: Constance Markievicz, Kathleen Clarke, Winifred Carney, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, and Molly Osgood.

Transcript-Episode Two (PDF)

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References:

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Green Against Green: the Irish Civil War by Michael Hopkinson, 2004, Gill Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hitte, 2011, Potomac Books

I’m Launching a Podcast!

Hello all! I am very excited to announce that on March 23rd, I’ll be launching a podcast!

It is called the Art of Asymmetrical Warfare and it is a history podcast that focuses on asymmetrical warfare (surprise, haha!) I’m very excited. I’ll be posting the episodes on this blog and will also upload them to Spotify, Itunes, and Youtube. Once I have the accounts created and the first few episodes uploaded, I’ll update this post with links.

Right now, I’m working with a graphic designer to design and create a beautiful banner and icon. Soon we’ll have a Twitter page and a Ko-Fi page to support the research and I’ll be creating a newsletter as well, so you’ll always know when an episode is posted. I just finished recording episode two today and will spend the rest of the week editing (nothing makes you hate podcasts more than having to listen to yourself say the same sentence over and over and over again because you’re hyper focusing on the weird way you pronounce the word conflict, but the project must go on!).

This batch of episodes will focus on Easter Rising. First, we’ll take a quick overview of the Rising itself and contextualize it within the great history of Ireland’s struggle for self-governance. Then, we’ll do a deeper dive and talk about the brave women who participated in Easter Rising. (Please tolerate my terrible pronunciation of Gaelic words and names. I’m very nervous and self-conscious about my tongue’s inability to say anything correctly).

The next few episodes after that will focus on the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish Civil War but then I hope to expand into other conflicts such as the Algerian War, the Palestine Mandate, and the many, many, many uprisings and rebellions experienced by the Russian and Austrian-Hungarian Empires. And then expand into topics I don’t know as well such as the Mau-Mau rebellion, the Vietnam war-both against America and France-the Indian Mutiny, etc.

I will discuss the various battles and skirmishes that occurred but want to focus on how the engagements were fought as well as contextualize the conflicts within the greater political and social narrative.

I’m super excited and hope you’ll enjoy the podcast!

Book Review: A History of God

A History of God by Karen Armstrong, Gramercy Books, 2004

Pros:

Fair and balanced look into the history of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Succinct summary of dense information

Well-written

Cons:

Lot of information

Can be dense and is a long read

Could be organized differently

This is a well written and fair book that covers the history of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. When I read the introduction, I was nervous about Armstrong’s bias since she had a heavy Catholic background. However, her handling of the different religions was surprisingly fair and well-researched. I have to so some research to see if people of those faiths agree, but me, as an atheist, found her to be non-judgment. If anything, she is hardest on Christianity while keen to highlight the beautiful elements of Judaism and Islam. She doesn’t shy from critiquing the other religions but is softer in her comments than when she talks about Christianity.

Overall, the book is not an easy read because of the density of the subject, but Armstrong is a strong writer who is a natural at taking a difficult topic and breaking it down so it’s easy to follow and understand. My only real critique is that it would have been slightly easier to digest if each chapter had been broken into sections with section headers. She organized her book chronologically so each chapter covers the developments for all three religions within a certain time frame. I understand the logic, but it makes the chapters thick and dense and can occasionally be confusing. But other than that, while a lot of information is covered, it is not a hard book to read. It is worth taking your time to read because there is so much information. Armstrong’s strongest chapters are the first five, where she takes her time to explore the origins of each religion. She also does a great job diving into the Sufi religion, which I found amazingly informational and fascinating. Would love to research into that religion more. However, once we reach the reformation, she isn’t as diligent in her research until we reach the later half of the 20th century.

While there is a lot of information, I would have liked to see more research into the Sunni-Shia split, the Crusades, as well as the Reformation. She definitely rushes through the Reformation and does a huge time jump from the Reformation to the 20th century. She also fails when writing about Islam during the 18th and 19th century. She claims that it’s hard to write about because little research has been done which seemed like a perfect opportunity for Armstrong to do the research. And the Crusades are barely mentioned at all, which seems odd since that is a defining (and horrific) moment for the Christian faith

Overall, a time-consuming read, but not a difficult read. Full of fascinating information about the world religions that are handled in a fair and compassionate manner.

Book Review: The Good Friday Agreement

The Good Friday Agreement by Siobhan Fenton, 2018, Biteback Publishing

Pros: Quick and Easy read

Provides needed context on women’s and LGBTQ issues in Ireland

A great overview of what’s happened in Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement

Cons: Lacking in deep analysis on any issues

This book is a breezy and easy read of North Ireland, 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement. When I initially bought the book, I was hoping there would have been a little more analysis done on how the Good Friday Agreement was negotiated and signed, but still found this book incredibly interesting. Interestingly, a lot of topics covered in this book are also discussed in Patrick Radden Keefe’s book Say Nothing.

Siobhan focuses on how the Good Friday Agreement affected minorities in Ireland, the efforts to deal with the missing people and trauma of the war, the breakdown of government in North Ireland, and how Brexit looms large on the horizon. The most interesting chapters are the ones that discuss domestic violence during and after the Troubles, how the various political parties use LGBTQ issues to push their own agendas, and the government’s refusal to properly address the war’s trauma. I found this chapter particularly interesting since I learned about the many different approaches communities can take to heal after a mass genocide or war while in grad school, and Ireland hasn’t done anything. There are the governmental trials to investigate into the many missing person’s cases, but they are half-hearted attempts and it is clear that the government would rather do nothing than risk the fragile peace that was earned by the agreement.

Siobhan’s book is a good and quick read with moments of interesting analysis. It’s definitely something I would recommend to a person who knew little about North Ireland and wanted a primer on what’s happened since the Troubles. However, I found the book shallow in its analysis in many places and found myself wanting to know more. I think Say Nothing covers the trauma side of things much better than Siobhan’s book, but Siobhan provided desperately needed context on women’s and LGBTQ issues.

Overall, this was a good read, if a little light in deep analysis.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/pepperthephoenix

Review for the Irish Civil war: Law, Execution, and Atrocity

Irish Civil War: Law, Execution, and Atrocity by Sean Enright, Merrion Press, 2019

4/5

A slightly dry, but fascinating read about the executions that took place during the Irish Civil War. Like his prior book on the Easter Rising Trial, Sean spends the first half of the book providing historical and legal context for the trials, before working through each execution in a linear process. This method can be a dry read, especially since he only provides short glimpses into the lives of those who are being executed, but that doesn’t mean this book isn’t interesting.

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Review for Fatal Path

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1919-1923 by Ronan Fanning, Faber and Faber, 2013

4/5

A light and easy read about the British perspective during the Anglo-Irish War. I greatly enjoyed this book. Since I normally read about the conflict from the side of the IRA/Irish Nationalist’s, this book was enjoyable and provided needed context for the British reactions to the Irish rebels. Fanning is a strong writer and takes the minutia that is British parliamentary politics and make it easier to understand as well as interesting.

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Thoughts on African Kaiser and handling colonialism

African Kaiser: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and the Great War in Africa, 1914-1918 by Robert Gaudi, Berkley, 2017

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while. I read African Kaiser by Robert Gaudi last year and, while it was an easy and enjoyable read, there was an element that didn’t sit right with me. Lettow-Vorbeck fought with Africans during WWI, but I think Gaudi stresses this ‘progressive’ mindset more than he should, making it far more positive than it really was.

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Book Review of Richard Mulcahy from the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace 1913-1924

Book Review of Richard Mulcahy from the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, Irish Academic Press 2019

Rating: 4.5/5

Pros:

  • A long overdue biography on a vital founder of the Irish Free State and Irish Army
  • Rich analysis that is easy to read
  • Provides needed context on the IRB’s role during the Irish-Anglo War and the Irish Civil War

Cons:

  • Provides little personal information about Richard Mulcahy
  • A few chapters are dense because of the amount of information being presented
  • There needs to a second volume

This biography is long overdue and excels at bringing Mulcahy out of Collin’s shadow, highlighting a career of various ups and down during the Irish War of Independence as well as the Irish Civil War.

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Overview of Pamela Toler’s Lecture on Women Warriors

A few weeks ago, I went to the Pritzker Military Museum and Library to attend Pamela Toler’s lecture on her new book Women Warriors: An Unexpected History. Toler is a well-known historian who studies the often over looked aspects of history such as women contributions and noncombatants contributions during war. Her book focuses on women warriors from all over the world, breaking down when we are most likely to see women engaging in combat and dismantling common assumptions when it comes to women warriors.

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Book Review-The Woman Who Would be King

The Woman Who Would be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney, 2014, Crown Publishing

 

4/5

 

This is a well-written, engaging study of a fascinating woman from Ancient Egypt. It has an easy to read study and, while it sometimes strays a little too far into the theoretical, it never reads like an academic tome. It is also an accessible book for anyone who doesn’t know much about Ancient Egypt, going into great detail how religious, politics, and a royal family’s internal life functioned. My only real critique of the book is that it goes too far in using modern feminism to explain Hatshepsut’s rise and Egypt’s reaction to having a woman Pharaoh.

 

The book starts by highlight that Hatshepsut’s first encounter with power was being appointed the God’s Wife of Amen. In this role, Hatshepsut was given property and a small staff and was responsible for tending to the needs of the god, Amen. She was also Thutmose I’s first born and Cooney hypothesizes that Hatshepsut learned how to govern by watching her father. Cooney spends a good portion of the first half of the book explaining the internal functions of a royal family. She freely admits that a lot of this is speculation based on archaeological findings and that we’ll never truly know what Hatshepsut’s relationship with her father or his many wives was like. Still, Cooney does an admirable job trying to untangle what would happen to a child and mother after they were born, the roles of the wet nurse and familial staff, and the different pressures and expectations for male children and female children.

 

Hatshepsut marries her step-brother, Thutmose II, and has a female child, but is unable to produce a male heir. However, when Thutmose II dies, it is Hatshepsut who takes control of his son’s fate, not the boy’s mother. Cooney does a lot of speculation as to why this was the case arguing that maybe Hatshepsut’s own mother was still alive at the time and helped her daughter stage a power grab, making Hatshepsut Thutmose III’s regent, instead of the boy’s mother. There is also some speculation that Thutmose III’s mother’s bloodline couldn’t compete with Hatshepsut’s. Once Hatshepsut took over, Cooney believes that she may have continued to have support from her mother in establishing control, and once this control was established, Thutmose could not destabilize it once he was old enough to understand what was going on.

 

Cooney does a great job trying to understand what Hatshepsut and Thutmose III’s relationship must have been like. At what point was Thutmose III old enough to realize that Hatshepsut had proclaimed herself pharaoh and all that entailed? Why did Hatshepsut never try to kill him and take the throne completely for herself? Cooney uses the fact that Thutmose did not destroy any reference to Hatshepsut until the end of his reign to hypothesize that they had, at least, a semi-working relationship. Cooney cannot say for sure if Thutmose were married Hatshepsut’s daughter, but it would have been odd if he hadn’t. Although her child falls into oblivion after Hatshepsut’s death, suggesting that Hatshepsut may have tried to pass the pharaoship down to her daughter as well and either she was too old and weak to do (she was sickly towards the end of her reign) or the Egyptian officials wouldn’t allow it. Interestingly, Hatshepsut was able to pass down her position as God Wife of Amen to her daughter, which may have suggested that, even though she couldn’t give the throne to her daughter, she could still give her an important position that would keep her safe one Hatshepsut died. The nature of Amun’s God Wife also changed towards the end of Thutmose’s reign. Mothers were appointed to that position instead, Cooney speculating because Thutmose III learned from Hatshepsut and realized that other women could use it as a spring board to the throne.

 

Cooney spends a lot of time trying to measure how Egyptians felt about this strange new pharaoh. Hatshepsut wasn’t the first woman to claim the title Pharaoh, and it wasn’t unusual for mothers to serve as regents for their sons. However, a regent had never claimed the title Pharaoh, nor had they ever worn the crown and ceremony beard of pharaoh. Even in her depictions, Hatshepsut made sure everyone knew she was pharaoh. She was placed before Thutmose and was bigger than he was. At first, her figure was a combination of masculine and feminine features but steadily grew more masculine (seemingly coinciding with Thutmose reaching his teenage years). As she grew more masculine, she began to share the space with Thutmose, making them the same size, however, by making her form more masculine, she also made it hard to differentiate between her figure and Thutmose III’s. Cooney tries to understand the change as a reflection of Egyptian society’s feelings about having a female pharaoh when the male pharaoh was old enough to make his own decisions, but it also seems like Hatshepsut was still finding ways to remind Thutmose of his place.

 

Cooney writes that Egyptian society seemingly embraced Hatshepsut’s power grab without much comment. She points out that may be because the Egyptians only recorded anything that would glorify the pharaoh and never stained their records with anything that was problematic. But I think there is also a danger in trying to understand Hatshepsut’s rise and Egyptian society’s feelings through a binary, feminist point of view. While reading Cooney’s analysis of familial life in Egypt, it is clear that the women of the household held power that we Westerners wouldn’t have expected or acknowledged in ancient civilizations-let along our own civilizations. Additionally, women had acted as regents before and Hatshepsut wasn’t the first woman to hold power nor would she be the last. Finally, many of the female deities were protective spirits, as vicious and deadly as they could be kind and loving. There seems to be this understanding of feminine power that is more advanced than Cooney’s theory of feminism would have us believe. Additionally, to expect Egyptians to understand gender along the same binary we understand it seems misguided at best.

 

Finally, because Cooney wants to establish a feminist theory regarding Hatshepsut’s rise, I think she doesn’t pay enough attention to Hatshepsut’s genius regarding administrative management. One of Hatshepsut’s most faithful administrators with Senenmut. Senenmut rose from humble beginnings to become one of Hatshepsut’s most powerful and trusted officials. He started as her daughter’s tutor, was given control of Hatshepsut’s finances, and became her chief architecture, overseeing the construction of the Deir el Bahri and built his tomb next to Hatshepsut’s. Many people have written that Senenmut was either the real brains behind Hatshepsut (which is ridiculous theory embedded in the sexist belief that a woman could never be as successful a pharaoh as Hatshepsut was) or her lover (which also seems vaguely sexist to me). Whether Senenmut was Hatshepsut’s lover or not (and what that means in terms of political power i.e. was he sleeping with her to keep power or was she sleeping with him to keep him bound to her) he wasn’t the only commoner to be promoted to an important official position. Hatshepsut made it a practice of appointing men from lower administrative families, seemingly buying their loyalty by evaluating their rank and power. This, more so than any feminine powerhouse Hatshepsut may have created with her mother (if she lived long enough to see Hatshepsut become pharaoh) and her own daughter, seems to be the reason Hatshepsut was able to remain in power as long as she did and was able to establish herself as pharaoh. By buying the loyalty of the administrative apparatus that help Egypt together, no one in their right mind would try to overthrow her. I wish Cooney had explored this aspect of her reign in more depth because it is an interesting style of management we have seen in other great historical figures.

 

After Hatshepsut died, Thutmose III became the sole pharaoh of Egypt. Most of her advisors and officials were disgraced from office, many of the statues Senenmut built for himself were destroyed and he wasn’t allowed to have his body buried next to Hatshepsut’s. His mummy has never been found. Despite getting rid of Hatshepsut’s officials, Thutmose III did not attack her historical record until the end of his reign. Cooney argues that this was because Thutmose III wanted his son to sit on the throne and feared that a woman would try to take the throne once more (we have to wonder if Hatshepsut’s daughter was still around, or maybe even Hatshepsut’s granddaughter-if she had one). However, I wonder if the reason Thutmose III didn’t try to erase Hatshepsut’s name from history sooner was because he couldn’t politically. Maybe Hatshepsut had done such a great job, not only ruling Egypt, but engraving her very presence into the psyche of Egyptian society, that to attack her legacy so soon after her death would have been seen as unforgivable. It was only at the end of his reign, when Thutmose III had enough of his own achievements to push Hatshepsut out of everyone’s mind, that he felt secure enough in his power to attack his co-ruler.

 

Overall, Cooney’s book is a fascinating read that is a great introduction to Hatshepsut’s reign. While she provides social and familial context rarely encountered in other books about the ancient world, I think she fell a little sort explaining the political machinations that was behind Hatshepsut’s ability to, not only rise to power, but keep it.

Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs in Ancient Egypt, a woman who took the name pharaoh after serving as Thutmose III’s regency for seven years. She oversaw the expansion of Ancient Egypt’s trade, a great reign of peace, and oversaw a series of large building projects such as one of the architectural wonders of Ancient Egypt, the Temple of Deir el-Bahri. Her reign was revolutionary in every sense, requiring Hatshepsut to use all her wits and skills to justify. Continue reading

Treaty of Versailles

Last week, I attended a fantastic given by Michael S. Neiberg at the Pritzker Military Museum and library about his latest book the Treaty of Versailles: a Concise History (which I also read) and I thought I’d write about the experience.

Mr. Neiberg modeled the structure of his lecture on the structure of his book, starting with a breakdown on how complicated of a situation the Big Three were facing when they drafted the treaty, America’s role in the treaty, and ending by focusing on an interesting, but often overlooked aspect of the Treaty: the case of Shandong. He wrapped his lecture up by quickly assessing the impact of the Treaty of Versailles immediately after it was written and the decades that followed.

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Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells is a giant, not only within the civil rights movement, but in American history. She was an African-American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. A founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a co-owner of the newspaper Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. Starting her career by investigating and documenting lynching across the United States, she quickly became a formidable figure arguing for civil and women’s rights. She died in 1931 at the age of 68, Ida remains a giant in American history.

Ida B. Wells

Born a slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi, one of eight children born to James and Lizzie Wells. James was the son of a white man and an African-American women and became a carpenter’s apprentice. Her mother, however, was sold from her family and struggled to find her family again after the Civil War. Ida was the oldest child and became the sole bread winner when both of her parents died during a fever epidemic. Ida attended the black liberal arts college Rust College in Holly Spring, allowing her to develop the skills needed to become a teacher.

 

After her parents died, her grandparents wanted to separate the Wells siblings, but Ida refused. When she was away teaching, her other family members would help care for the younger children. They stayed in Holly Springs until two Wells sister died, convincing Ida to move to Memphis, TN and resettle with her aunt. While in Memphis, Ida attended summer classes at Fisk University and Lemoyne-Owens College and surprised many people with her strong feminist and civil rights views.

 

While riding a train in 1884, Ida was ordered to move form the first-class ladies car and move to the smoking cars. Ida refused and she was dragged out of the car. She wrote a newspaper article about the experience and sued the railroad and won $500 awards. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court shot down the verdict and made Ida pay court fees.

 

After her experience on the train, Ida continued to teach, but also started her career as a journalist. She became an editor for the Evening Star, wrote articles about The Living way weekly newspaper, and became an editor and co-editor of the Free Speech and Headlight. In 1891, Ida was fired from her teaching position, and recommitted herself to the newspapers.

 

In 1889, Ida’s friend Thomas Moss was entangled in a fight between a group of white men attacking a young African American by. Moss owned a grocery shop and two of his employees rushed to protect the boy. Eventually, a sheriff came down and arrested Moss and his employees. In 1892, men in black masks took Moss, McDowell, and Stewart out of their cells and to a rail yard in Ohio and executed them.

 

Ida was devastated by the loss of her friends and began to investigate other lynchings and published an editorial about her findings. Her newspaper office was burnt to the ground and she left Memphis and moved to Chicago.

 

On 1892, Ida published her lynching investigation in a pamphlet called Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Phases, claiming that Southerners cried rape to justify lynching African-Americans that they felt threatened by, especially economically. She recommended African-Americans arm themselves to defend against lynching. She followed this up with the pamphlet The Red Record covering lynching since the Civil War and the struggles of African-Americans.

 

Ida had hope that white Americans would turn against lynching, but she knew that African-Americans needed to arm themselves to be truly safe and she went to Britain to bring economic pressure on white America. She went to England to speak about her research and agreed to write for the only newspaper that decried lynching, the Daily Inter-Ocean. This made Ida the first paid woman correspondent for a mainstream white newspaper.

 

In 1895, Ida married Ferdinand L. Barnett, another journalist and civil rights activist. Barnett founded the Chicago Conservator, which Ida wrote for and even became an editor for.

 

While Ida remained dedicated to her work, she had gained a notorious reputation and many traditional activists saw her as a threat and too radical. This seems to have prevented her from being included in the list of founders of the NAACP.

 

While Ida was heavily involved with the civil rights movement, she was also involved with the Suffrage movement. This started with her founding of two Chicago Women’s Clubs in response to a new state law that gave women the right to vote in certain elections. She also organized the National Associations of Colored Women’s Clubs and the National Afro-American Council. While she believed all women should have the right to vote, she also saw the suffrage movement as a chance for African-American women to become involved in their own communities. This led to a public fight with Frances Willard, the president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a strong advocacy group for women’s suffrage. Ida claimed that Frances did not condemn the lynching occurring in the South and even blamed African-Americans for the defeat of the temperance legislation. This may have also contributed to her exclusion from the National Associations of Colored Women’s Club in 1899

 

Despite these setbacks, Ida continued to fight for equality and human rights until her death, in 1931 at the age of 68.


Image Sources: public domain, wikicommons

Sources: Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching by Paula Giddings. Published by Harper Collins in 2009

When Ida B. Wells Took on Lynching, Threats Forced Her to Leave Memphis

Ida B Wells

9 things you must know about Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B Wells Wikipedia

Ida B Wells National Women’s History Museum

Ida B Wells Biography

Book Review: Syria: An Outline History

Syria: An Outline History by John D. Granger

4/5

This is a well-written book about a large swath of land in what is now known as the Middle East. Even though there is a modern-day equivalent of Syria, it is a small portion of what had been Syria until roughly the 20th century. The borders of Syria have changed frequently through various waves of invasion and conquest. It seems that the borders have been contested so much over history, that Grainger felt the need to defend where he placed the borders and the complications that arose from that decision. Syria has never been united either politically, ethnically, or religiously, making it a potentially unwieldy and overwhelming topic to write on or study. Grainger shows himself to be a master historian by knowing exactly how much detail is needed without overwhelming anyone. He also knows how to take incredibly complicated scenarios and bring an amazing sense of clarity.

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Book Review: Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt

Review of Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt by Rosalie David. Published by Penguin in 2002

4/5

This book, while different from what I had been expecting, was a well written and insightful read. It focuses on the development of the Ancient Egyptian belief system chronologically, focusing on the historical events that affected who and how Egyptians worshipped. While I was expecting an in-depth look at the religious practices themselves, it was fascinating to watch as local deities became national gods according to what was occurring politically. While the prose is engaging and David obviously knows what she is talking about, I’m not sure if someone who didn’t have a basic understanding of Ancient Egyptian history already would be able to fully enjoy this book.

The book offers a number of interesting theories such that the concept of the Pharaoh being a god on Earth was developed in order to balance the power of the priests, after some of the gods became universal. Many of the changes in Egyptian beliefs reflected the struggle between the priests and the Egyptians although she disagrees that Akhenaten’s attempts to unite the religion under one god was a political move to undercut the power of the priests. Instead, she argues that Akhenaten truly believed in Aten and any political fall out was only a secondary consideration. I have always found Akhenaten to be a fascinating pharaoh and that was the one of the most interesting part of the book for me.

The second most important part was the analysis on the Cult around Osiris. David argues that Osiris became popular because he offered salvation to every day Egyptians. This contrasted sharply with the old beliefs that said only the royal family would find salvation in the afterlife. This seems strangely similar to the concept of Jesus Christ offering salvation to everyone, instead of a special people. The Osiris cult was created during a difficult period of Egyptian history and seemed to have been an attempt to placate the suffering people.

Overall, it was a fascinating read that gave a quick, but concise look at how the Egyptian religion changed based on historical pressure.

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Book Review: A Peace to End all Peace

A Peace to End All Peace: the Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin. Published by Owl Books 2001

4/5

This is one of those books that everyone reads for a foundational knowledge about the Middle Eastern policy during WWI. It is a well-researched and well written book that is an easy and quick read, packed with a ton of information. Like one of my other favorite books: Dreadnaught written by Robert K. Massie, this book focuses on the British war efforts. However, unlike Dreadnaught, this book only focuses on the British war effort. Fromkin writes in the preface, that that was intentional, and while it provides a focused narrative, it doesn’t capture all the nuisances of the Middle Eastern theater. It also obfuscates the role Russia played in shaping the war effort. It also doesn’t make much of an effort to explain the Turkish policy. This is a good book to start if one wants an entry point into the mess that is WWI’s Middle Eastern Front, but it needs to be read along with other books to provide a more holistic and in depth understanding of the war.

That being said, Fromkin does a fantastic job highlighting the inefficiency and stupidity behind the British war efforts. They entered the region without a clear plan on what they wanted from the region and once their forces were trapped in the Middle East, they had no idea how to win or what winning entailed. The War Office, under Kitchener, wanted to create a hands on empire while others wanted a loose confederacy of British states, ruled by locals, but modeled on British officers. Then there were others, like T. E Lawrence one could argue, who took advantage of a situation they were thrust into to their own benefit, altering a region in ways they couldn’t understand.

The British launched the Gallipoli campaign because they were terrified of Russia being pushed out of the war by the Turkish and because they underestimated the Turkish war effort. They thought it would be an easy victory that could distract from the disaster that was the western front. McMeekin, author of The Ottoman Endgame, does a fantastic job describing the true role Russia played in the Gallipoli campaign, while Fromkin only touched upon it. McMeekin also spend far more time explaining the role Russia played in constructing the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Read my review of The Ottoman Endgame here

Fromkin, however, provides the necessary analysis of the interpersonal politics of the British war effort. Like Massie, Fromkin understand people and psychology, and does an indepth analysis of the officers who surrounded Kitchener, the Indian Office, and the War Department as well as the mercurial nature of men like Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George. Fromkin also does a decent job balancing the many countries involved in the war, dedicating times to small offenses such as Dunsterforce campaign in Central Asia while keeping the bigger picture in view. He even took time to briefly explain what was going on in the British home front to explain some of the policy decisions the British made.

To learn more about the Dunsterforce campaign, watch this Great War episode

Overall, while the book only focuses on the British perspective, it is a great and indepth overview, providing a good foundation to a very conflicting and confusing front. But it needs to be supplemented with other books.

Book Review: The Ottoman Endgame

The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Sean McMeekin. Published by Penguin Books, 2016

5/5

This is a well written, well researched study of the military situation of the Ottoman Empire before and during the First World War. It provides a refreshing perspective, focusing on the Ottomans themselves, as oppose to the powers that destroyed their empire. It takes the time to review the situation in the Balkans and highlighting the Ottoman’s desperation as the British cooled on them and Russia licked its lips, eying its territory. The only country willing to offer a friendly hand was Germany and thus the Ottoman’s fate was sealed. By siding with Germany, they turned themselves against those who had once protected their land (the British, in their everlasting Great Game against Russia).

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Two Giants of the Civil Rights Movement

Saturday was the Women’s March and today is MLK Day, making me reflect on the Civil Rights movement and social change in general. MLK represents many different things to so many people and I think everything we project on him can sometimes obscure the man and the many people around him, who fought just as hard and sacrificed just as much. And I think that was MLK’s greatest gift and legacy-empowering, not only a nation, but each and every individual who came in contact with him to fight for justice and for what’s right. Today, I want to write about two such people, two women who I deeply admire and can’t help but be inspired by: Dorothy Height and Fannie Lou Hamer. Hopefully, this way I can pay my respects to the Women’s March and MLK’s and the Civil Rights Movement’s legacy.

Dorothy Height

Dorothy Height, once described by civil rights leader, James Farmer, as one of the “Big Six” of the civil rights movement, was a women’s and civil rights activist who dedicated herself to African-American issues such as unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness. She was a well-recognized figure of the civil rights era, presiding over the National Council of Negro Women from 1957 to 1997, founding the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, and forming the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.

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Thoughts on World War I

Yesterday, I was going to write a blog post about the 100th year anniversary of the WWI armistice and of Poland’s independence, but I couldn’t find the right words. I wanted to celebrate with Poland (lord knows they deserve it), while also properly reflecting on the war that killed 7 million civilians and 10 million military personal, shattered three empires, and created a decade of instability and civil wars, culminating in the Second Word War.

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The Battle of Ashbourne

Tuesday 25, April 1916 was a fine, spring day. There had been gentle showers earlier, but the land had dried since then, and the rest of week promised to be warm. After a disastrous start on Easter Sunday, things had gone as smoothly as could be expected for Irish Volunteer, Lieutenant Richard Mulcahy. After reporting to the GPO in Dublin on Monday, he and two other Volunteers were sent into the countryside to destroy the telegraph lines at Howth. Despite one Volunteer needing to be sent back for his rifle and briefly being stopped by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), they reached their target and easily severed the lines[1]. Mulcahy on his way back to headquarters, stumbled upon the Fingal (5th) battalion, led by the charismatic and courageous Commandant Thomas Ashe. Mulcahy was instantly recognized and made Ashe’s second in command[2]. Together, they would spend a week, utilizing basic guerilla tactics to terrorize British forces in the countryside of Dublin County and capture three different British garrisons. They would end the week, with the Battle of Ashbourne, a desperate struggle that would pit Ashe’s leadership and Mulcahy’s analytical mind against the RIC’s discipline, arms, and experience. The battle, while often overshadows by the drama unfurling within Dublin, would provide a taste of what was to come during the Anglo-Irish War.

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More notes on Armenian Golgotha

I’ve been thinking about Balakian’s memoir and two points that stuck out the most to me were: the international community’s culpability/lack of proper response and Turkey’s complaints once the Armenians were murdered.

Starting with the Turk’s complaints, it’s so similar to the U.S. right now, it’s terrifying. Balakin writes that the Armenians were the core of Turkey’s economic, serving at its craftsmen, artisans, lawyers, farmers, etc. Balakian might have exaggerated the importance of his people to highlight the horror and stupidity of Turkish policy towards the Armenians, but there is some evidence to support his claims. When the Armenians were taken and killed, the Turkish peasants asked where the Armenians had gone, when were they returning, and when were the fields going to be plowed? Every time Balakian talks to a Turk, they complained about how no one was making anything, and people were starving because no one was harvesting, etc.

This is similar to the U.S. After the current president talked about building a wall, cracked down on undocumented immigrants, and seated families, American farmers complained about a lack of workers and their inability to harvest all their crops and tech companies worried about losing their immigrant workers. While a minority can be easy to blame when things go badly or when a nation needs to be ‘united’, they are often the backbone of the society and economy. Balakian wrote that during their march to death, his caravan would pass farms that once belonged to the Armenians. The crops were left on the vines and Turks were starving because they didn’t harvest the food.

The centrality of the minority to the economy, makes the arguments that they’re hurting the country almost believable. Even though they are the ‘minority’ and are being exploited, they seemed ‘everywhere’ and control ‘everything’ somehow making them responsible for everything going wrong. It’s a twisted and terrifying logic that contains enough ‘truth’ to be believed. The obvious solution, is to pull them out of the economy, separate them from everyone else, and then exterminate them.

The second point was the international community’s silence even though there were articles about the horrors that were occurring. The Germans knew and said nothing. Instead, the German military officers and political leaders looked the other way and the German engineers would help to a certain point. The Swiss engineers were far more helpful, but their country was silent. Even with Henry Morgenthau in Turkey as an ambassador couldn’t get the U.S. to formally say anything about the genocide until they entered the war. Wilson used the Armenians in his arguments for the fourteen points, but after the war, Balakian wrote that many of the Turkish officials who were not assassinated by surviving Armenians were either forgiven, escaped justice, or returned to politics.

Balakian’s complains that there were no formal international trials for the masterminds of the Armenian Genocide makes me think about the important of the Nuremburg Trials. If there had been a Nuremberg like trial for the Turks, would the Holocaust had ever happened? If it did, we would have already had a legal foundation on how to handle genocide. It also made me wonder when should a nation get involved with genocide? At what point could the Americans, Swiss, or other nations stop the Turks from killing the Armenians? Could they have? It’s easy to judge them, but, honestly, what could they have done at the time? It seems that they could have been far stricter when it came to ending the war, but as Balakian writes, Turkey has a strategic position connecting Europe and the Middle East, they did not want to upset the new Kemalist regime.

Reading Balakian’s memoir made me think of Syria and how there will be no punish for Assad or his regime. The Syrians have been slaughtered and someday some will say: “who, today, speaks of the Syrians?”

5 Famous Women of Central Asia

When I’m not reading/researching history topics, I write fiction. My newest project is a Middle Eastern/Central Asian novel about a royal family trying to keep out colonists and a growing terrorist ring wanting to recapture the glories of the past. While writing this book, I need to do a lot of research. This week, I’ve been reading about Central Asian women-warriors, leaders, poets, etc. and I thought it’d be fun to write a post about my favorite women I’ve encountered.

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Qodiriy, Fitrat, and Cho‘lpon

I recently finished Hamid Ismailov’s book the Devils’ Dance, which is about Abdulla Qodiriy’s last days in a Soviet prison and the book he was working on before his arrest. The book mentions several Uzbek writers who I was unfamiliar with, so I decided to do a little research. This was what I was able to find out.

First World War and Central Asia

Before we can discuss the three writers, we must understand the world they lived in. All three men lived during the painful and dangerous period between the end of the Victorian Era and the beginning of the Edwardian Era. They also lived through one of the century’s greatest disasters: the First World War and then the Bolshevik Revolution.

Nationalism had been on the rise all over the world during the decades that preceded the First World War, and Central Asia was no different. When World War I occurred, many in Central Asia thought they could gain their independence. This hope was increased by the Bolshevik Revolution and the disintegration of Tsarist Russia.

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Emir Nasrullah, Stoddart, and Connelly

A few months ago, I finished Hamid Ismailov’s the Devils’ Dance, which is a historical novel about the famous Uzbek writer, Abdulla Qodiriy’s last days in a Soviet prison, and the book the real Qodiriy was working on, but never published about an Uzbek princess, Oyxon, and the courts of Kokand and Bukhara. I was somewhat familiar with the court of Bukhara before starting the Devils’ Dance because I had read of the executions of the British envoys: Charles Stoddart and Arthur Connelly.

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Book Review: Anonymous Soldiers

The Anonymous Soldiers by Bruce Hoffman. Published by Random House in 2015

This is a well written and well researched book that is easy to read, and is packed with information. While there is a lot in there, it’s not a ‘dense’ book. It is a definitely a book that needs to be ready multiple times to get everything, but that’s just because the situation itself is so complicated and crazy.

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The Fall of Vicksburg

Today is the first week of July, an important week for American Civil War buffs. During this week, a 150 years ago, Lee took a great gamble at Gettysburg and lost, and Vicksburg finally fell to General Grant’s army.

While the Battle of Gettysburg is an important battle and has reached mythical proportions in the American mindset, I would argue that Vicksburg is just as important, if not more so, and had a longer, far more reaching impact on the war as a whole. This doesn’t negate the importance of Gettysburg, but Gettysburg legacy and its aftermath cannot be properly understood without acknowledging the affects Vicksburg’s fall had on the Confederacy. Consequently, Vicksburg may not have meant anything if Lee had won at Gettysburg. The battles, occurring separately, feed into each other, one affecting the other, and we cannot understand this important week if we don’t understand both battles.

Therefore, I decided to write about Vicksburg this year.

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Easter Rising

I decided to combine all my short Easter Rising posts, into a big one.

Easter Rising is one of the most momentous Irish rebellions in its long, tortuous and bloody history. It caught the British by surprise (despite the Castle knowing all there was to know about the planned exertion) and lasted for five days before being defeated by the British Army under General Maxwell. It was concentrated mostly in Dublin, with a few engagements in the countryside. While the rebellion itself was a failure, the execution of its leaders and the determination of its survivors, turned it into a spiritual and political victory that set the stage for the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish Civil War.

It nearly didn’t happen.

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Book Review: In the Shadow of the Sword

In the Shadow of the Sword by Tom Holland. Published by Anchor in 201

I bought this book because I was blown away by Dan Snow’s interview of Tom Holland about this book, which can be found on HistoryHits. The two observations discussed in the interview that struck me were Holland’s claim that the Quran’s Christianity equivalent isn’t the Bible, but Jesus Christ and the idea that the foundation for our modern religions was built at least a hundred years after the events of Christ and Muhammad. I know it seems dumb, but I had always assumed that things fell into place for these religions immediately aftet the deaths of their leaders. Holland’s argument intrigued me, so I bought his book and I’m so glad I did.

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Book Review: the Empire of the Steppes

The Empire of the Steppes: a History of Central Asia by Rene Grousset. Published in 1970 by Rutgers

I picked this book up two years ago because I had a vague interest in the steppes and Central Asia and I’m really glad I did. While it is an old book, originally published in 1939, it is surprisingly sympathetic to the various tribes and races discussed. There are some glaring word choices that reveal its age (like using orientalist unironically), but it didn’t impact the overall reading experience. It is an in depth and compelling overview of the steppes from early human history to the 18th century. The first two chapters of the book are hard to get through, especially for someone like me who didn’t know anything about the region before reading the book. I’d actually recommend skipping the first two chapters and start with Genghis Khan as that is when Groussett’s writing shines the brightest.

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Easter Rising: Surrender and Legacy

Thursday and Friday were some of the bloodiest days during Easter Rising. Cathal Brugha made a brilliant stand on Thursday, during the famous battle for South Dublin Union and Daly held the British forces at the Four Courts from Wednesday to Friday. Most importantly, Commander-in-chief General Sir John Maxwell arrived in Ireland on Friday. General Maxwell, perhaps, did more to ensure the spiritual and political success of the Rising than anyone else.

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Book Review: Inside Central Asia

Inside Central Asia by Dilip Hiro. Published in 2009 by Overlook Duckworth

This book is a great overview of Central Asia from the rise of the Soviet Union to 2009. This book discusses Turkey, the Central Asian states, and Iran. It picks up where Rashid’s book left off. While Rashid focused mostly on Central Asia immediately after the Soviet Union disintegrated, Dilip focuses on how the countries tried to rebuild themselves after the fall of the wall.

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Easter Rising-Tuesday and Wednesday

Despite knowing about the upcoming Rising, the British government in Ireland did little to prepare for it. Monday morning there were a total of 400 British soldiers on hand to respond to the rebellion. Townshend claims that there were 100 for each of the four barracks (Richmond, Marlborough, Royal, and Portobello). The rest of the police force had taken advantage of the holiday and had gone to the races. The small force engaged the rebels during Monday afternoon, but were unable to displace the Volunteers. This was a short lived victory for the rebels however, as by Monday night General Lowe had taken command, an additional 150 troops had arrived from Belfast with more reinforcements coming from England, and a colonel had brought up the artillery from Athlone. Lowe’s plan was to establish communication along the Kingsbridge-North Wall-Trinity College line, cutting the city in half, and then isolate the rebel forces from each other.

Martial law was declared that Monday, and the fate of Dublin was left in the military’s hands.

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Easter Rising: Sunday

Easter Rising is one of the most momentous Irish rebellions in its long, tortuous and bloody history. It caught the British by surprise (despite the Castle knowing all there was to know about the planned exertion) and lasted from April 24th to April 29th, before being defeated by the British Army under General Maxwell. It was concentrated mostly in Dublin, with a few engages in the countryside. While the rebellion itself was a failure, the execution of its leaders and the determination of its survivors, turned it into a spiritual and political victory that set the stage for the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish Civil War.

It nearly didn’t happen.

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Book Review: The Resurgence of Central Asia

The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism by Ahmed Rashid. Published in 2016 by Zed Books

I have recently been fascinated by Central Asia and this book is a fantastic review of that region immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union. The book itself is a piece of history and, although I bought the newest edition, it only covers the period from the Russian invasion in the 1800s to 1994. So, while it will not provide an examination of modern Central Asia, it provides a great insight into how the Soviet Union shaped Central Asia and what people expected from that region in the 1990s.

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Easter Rising Part 1: Pre-1916

Easter Rising is one of the most momentous moments in Irish history, setting the stage for the Anglo-Irish War in the 1920s, and continues to shape Irish society. But what is it and why did it happen? Easter Rising was an Irish protest concentrated mostly in Dublin with a few firefights in the countryside and was crushed by the British in about a week. Many consider the Rising itself to be a failure, but its political and social aftershocks made it a success.

To understand why the Rising happened, one most first familiarize themselves with Irish’s tortuous history. This post will briefly review some of the major events in Irish history, like Daniel O’Connell and the Young Irelanders, Charles Parnell and Home Rule, and John Redmond. It will then discuss the creation of the Irish Volunteers and the merging with the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) as well as provide brief biographers on the major players of Easter Rising. It will be followed by a post that will describe the rising itself and a final post that will discuss its aftermath and legacy.

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The Importance of Remembering

“I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written.”-George Orwell

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) and it made me think about the importance of remembering and of preserving the testimony of witnesses.

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Book Review: The Year of Liberty: the History of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798

The Year of Liberty: the History of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798 by Thomas Pakenham. Published in 1993 by Random House, Inc.

 

I have been fascinated by the 1798 rebellion ever since I first discovered the band the Wolfe Tones and realized they were named after an Irish rebel. Needless to say, I was excited when I found this book-two years ago. Please don’t judge me, my tbr pile is at least six hundred books. Anyway, I finally got around to reading it and found it enlightening.

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Book Review: The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille

The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille by George Thenault. Published in 2009 by Bibliolife

I’m sure one can imagine my excitement when I saw this memoir in my local military library. George Thenault was the French commander of the Lafayette Escadrille from the very beginning to the moment it was swallowed by the American Expeditionary Force and turned into the 103d Aero Squadron. The memoir was originally written in 1919 and became a global success, ensuring that Thenault would spend eleven years in the United States, serving as a military attaché. I had always wondered how Thenault and his second in command Lt. de Laage de Meux had felt about their American pilots and the memoir did not disappoint.

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Book Review: Portrait of a Revolutionary

Portrait of a Revolutionary General Richard Mulcahy and the Founding of the Irish Free State by Maryann Valiulis Published in 1992 by University Press of Kentucky

Richard Mulcahy is a criminally underappreciated Irishmen. Born in the 1890s and starting his career as a postal worker, he would eventually study to become an engineer, before taking part in Easter Rising, and ending up as Chief of Staff of the IRA. Working together with men like Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, and Cathal Brugha, Mulcahy struggled to install order on an unruly group of insurgents. His most important contribution to the creation of the Irish Free State, however, was his firm leadership during the Irish Civil War and the 1924 Mutiny that followed. The Mutiny pushed him to the background as De Valera took the spotlight, but Mulcahy remained a permanent feature of Irish Politics becoming party leader of Fine Gael in 1944 and serving in a various number of ministries throughout his long life. He even cobbled together a coalition government that forced De Valera’s party to the opposition in the 1948 elections. He died in 1971 at the age of 85.

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