Letters and Politics

The Fall of the Ottomans and the Fall of Coal

Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East at Oxford University and author of the book The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East.

And Richard Martin, journalist, energy analyst, and author of Coal Wars The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet.

About the books:

The Fall of the Ottomans

In 1914 the Ottoman Empire was depleted of men and resources after years of war against Balkan nationalist and Italian forces. But in the aftermath of the assassination in Sarajevo, the powers of Europe were sliding inexorably toward war, and not even the Middle East could escape the vast and enduring consequences of one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. The Great War spelled the end of the Ottomans, unleashing powerful forces that would forever change the face of the Middle East.

In The Fall of the Ottomans, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan brings the First World War and its immediate aftermath in the Middle East to vivid life, uncovering the often ignored story of the region’s crucial role in the conflict. Bolstered by German money, arms, and military advisors, the Ottomans took on the Russian, British, and French forces, and tried to provoke Jihad against the Allies in their Muslim colonies. Unlike the static killing fields of the Western Front, the war in the Middle East was fast-moving and unpredictable, with the Turks inflicting decisive defeats on the Entente in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, and Gaza before the tide of battle turned in the Allies’ favor. The great cities of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and, finally, Damascus fell to invading armies before the Ottomans agreed to an armistice in 1918.

The postwar settlement led to the partition of Ottoman lands between the victorious powers, and laid the groundwork for the ongoing conflicts that continue to plague the modern Arab world. A sweeping narrative of battles and political intrigue from Gallipoli to Arabia, The Fall of the Ottomans is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Great War and the making of the modern Middle East.

Coal Wars:

Since the late 18th century, when it emerged as a source of heating and, later, steam power, coal has brought untold benefits to mankind. Even today, coal generates almost 45 percent of the world’s power. Our modern technological society would be inconceivable without coal and the energy it provides. Unfortunately, that society will not survive unless we wean ourselves off coal. The largest single source of greenhouse gases, coal is responsible for 43 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Richard Martin, author of SuperFuel, argues that to limit catastrophic climate change, we must find a way to power our world with less polluting energy sources, and we must do it in the next couple of decades–or else it is “game over.” It won’t be easy: as coal plants shut down across the United States, and much of Europe turns to natural gas, coal use is growing in the booming economies of Asia– particularly China and India. Even in Germany, where nuclear power stations are being phased out in the wake of the Fukushima accident, coal use is growing. Led by the Sierra Club and its ambitious “Beyond Coal” campaign, environmentalists hope to drastically reduce our dependence on coal in the next decade. But doing so will require an unprecedented contraction of an established, lucrative, and politically influential worldwide industry. Big Coal will not go gently. And its decline will dramatically change lives everywhere–from Appalachian coal miners and coal company executives to activists in China’s nascent environmental movement.

Based on a series of journeys into the heart of coal land, from Wyoming to West Virginia to China’s remote Shanxi Province, hundreds of interviews with people involved in, or affected by, the effort to shrink the industry, and deep research into the science, technology, and economics of the coal industry, Coal Wars chronicles the dramatic stories behind coal’s big shutdown–and the industry’s desperate attempts to remain a global behemoth. A tour de force of literary journalism, Coal Wars will be a milestone in the climate change battle.

  • Martha Deacon

    Armenians, not a Arminians, (a school of Protestant theology, named after someone named Arminius)…

    • dahszil

      learn something new everyday 🙂

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