by Richard Stoneman, Fifth Edition, 2009, Interlink Books, Northampton, MA
We bought this book before we took our trip to Greece and Turkey last year, thinking that I would read the book prior to going to Turkey. I never had the time to read it before, but I thought I would catch up and read it afterwards.
The book did provide what I was looking for, primarily a connection between the ancient sites we visited and present-day Turkey. What I didn’t anticipate was the high level and number of civilizations that have come and gone in this region. I was also overwhelmed by the amount and level of atrocities and violence that have occurred over time. I came away from reading this wondering if Turkey can ever be considered “civilized” given its very checkered and criminal past. The book was written in 2009 so the last five years of Turkish politics and events are not included, but it gave a sense of where the country might be headed. It would appear to me that the political situation in Turkey remains a powder keg that can explode at any time either in the near or distant future.
The book itself isn’t very well written. It was basically a chore to wade through it. The author seemed to have a very good grasp of the history of the region, but he failed to provide interesting embellishments to his very dry narrative. There were numerous references to historical names and places with very little context or reference points. I am happy that I got through it, but it wasn’t an enjoyable read at all.
Finally, my spell check caught an error in the spelling of the book’s title, seeming to prefer “Traveler’s over “Traveller’s.”