By Emil Lengyel
OCCUPYING at the Dardanelles one of the permanent key positions of history during thousands of years, and standing squarely athwart Hitler’s route of expansion to the Near East, Turkey is an extremely important factor in the present war. Mr. Lengyel provides a vivid and entertaining background of historical reminiscence and contemporary comment for an understanding of modern Turkey. In building a battleship or a cruiser it is necessary to choose between speed and weight, and, except in the case of a genius like Gibbon or Mommsen, a similar choice is imposed on the writer of history. Mr. Lengyel is definitely on the light side in his history; his swift anecdotal method makes tor easy reading but does not leave a very profound or connected picture of the rise and fall of the Turkish power in Europe. More valuable is the last section of the book, in which he describes from personal observation the physical and psychological features of New Turkey: the uprooting of old traditions, the changed status of women, the forcing of Western ways as fast as the poverty of the country permits, the planned industrialization. He shows why Turkey must hold the Straits if it is to remain an independent power.
W. H. C.