Great Books about Turkey

Although we are entering the Thanksgiving season, we are not talking about the gobbler that will soon grace our tables. Rather, we are referring to the country, Turkey, which has been in the news quite a lot lately. We have a friend who is there under the pretense of teaching English. Thankfully, she was back in the states when the most recent terrorist’s attacks occurred. However, another of our friends was there on vacation and had only just left the bombing location right before it occurred. So, learning a little about Turkey, through some great books, is high on our agenda.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) has been focused more aptly on the US bases in Turkey. They are suggesting reassessing US troop deployment in the area. Mother Jones reports that there are still 17 bases in Turkey, though the Turkish government has been able to limit their usage (read about US military bases worldwide here). And, given the potential for Russia’s involvement in fighting Turkey’s recent shelling of Syria, the FDD is probably right about the reassessment.

Great Books about Turkey

If you don’t know what’s going on in Turkey right now, you might want to click this to learn more. However, if you are happier staying in the dark, feel free to be content with the books on this list.

5 Best Books with Turkey in Mind

These are the best books we could find that include lessons about Turkey and the life of the people there. We hope that you will find some of them entertaining, while we suspect you will at least be better educated on the country itself. Without further ado, here are the top 5 best books with Turkey in mind:

  1. Scotch and Holy Water– Penned by John D. Tumpane, this book will leave you laughing, and simultaneously more knowledgeable. People who have lived in Turkey have found the book to be both true and revealing of a culture they never fully appreciated. Of all the books on this list, we recommend this one first simply because we believe it to be the most true-to-life book on Turkey we have ever been exposed to (read the reviews here).
  2. Istanbul: Memories and the City– Orhan Pamuk, a native of Istanbul, still lives in the family apartment. The book provides an intimately panoramic view of Pamuk’s great city. The sadness amidst this lost empire radiates throughout the novel.
  3. Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds– Stephen Kinzer reveals the contradictions that people living in Turkey know too well. His exploration of the country is both vivid and heartbreaking, exciting and discouraging. He sees it all too clear from his position on the front lines.
  4. Turkey: The Raw Guide- Jack Scott writes from the position of an expatriate living in Turkey. He reveals all the things that your tour guides, or travelogue, could never share. You will learn about: lunatic drivers, dirty politics, spring-loaded waiters, rancid drains, bugs from Hell, and biblical floods. Read more.
  5. Memed, My Hawk-This is a fifty year old fictional novel, by Yasar Kemal, about a desperately poor but kindhearted boy who undergoes tremendous pain and torture. He will either save his people or join the ruthless people who formed him. The story is one that begs to be read by young and old alike.

If you are searching for more books about Turkey, because your interest has been piqued, follow this link.