Mango, Andrew 1926(?)-
MANGO, Andrew 1926(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1926, in Istanbul, Turkey; immigrated to England, c. 1947. Education: Studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; earned Ph.D.
CAREER: Writer, journalist, broadcaster, and researcher. Served as head of BBC Turkish service; published a weekly newsletter on Turkish affairs. Member of the editorial board of academic publications in Britain, Turkey, and France. Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, London, England, research associate.
AWARDS, HONORS: Atatürk Award, Atatürk Society of America, 2003, for Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey.
Turkey, Walker (New York, NY), 1968.
Discovering Turkey, Batsford (London, England), 1971, Hastings House (New York, NY), 1972.
Turkey: A Delicately Poised Ally, Sage Publications (Beverly Hills, CA), 1975.
Turkey: The Challenge for a New Role, Praeger (Westport CT), 1994.
Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of ModernTurkey, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2000.
Mango's articles and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including the Political Quarterly.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrew Mango is "one of the world's most respected specialists on Turkey," according to Stephen Kinzer in the New York Times. Born in Istanbul, Mango immigrated to England when he was twenty-one and has spent his life writing and informing the public about his native Turkey. A longtime chief of the BBC Turkish service, Mango published his first article on Turkey in 1957. Since that time he has published dozens of other articles and five books about the country, including his award-winning title about the founder of the Turkish Republic, Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey.
Mango's first book-length publication, Turkey, appeared in 1968. In it the author traces the origins and history of modern Turkey, focusing initially on the time period from 1071 to 1453, when, as Ismet Giritli noted in a review in the Middle East Journal, "the territory of the modern Turkish Republic . . . was won by the Turks for Islam." Mango's emphasis in the book is on modern Turkey, however, and the bulk of the book examines the country after the founding of the republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Mango also devotes chapters to the economy, culture, society, and political development of the country. The book "deserves attention because it emanates from the first-hand research and observation of the author," Giritli further commented. A reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement added that Mango "writes about Turkey in depth" in this "short, convenient handbook." The same reviewer went on to observe that Mango's book "is to be commended not least for its historical interpretations and insights." W. C. Brice, writing in the Geographical Journal, also had praise for the book, calling it "outstandingly good of its kind."
Mango takes more of a guidebook approach to his native land in Discovering Turkey. Here he provides introductory chapters on history, geography, and culture, and devotes most of the book to selected tours of the county in sections on Thrace, Istanbul, the coast, and the plateau. A contributor to the Times Literary Supplement stated that "the author knows his Turkey" and that "excluding works of encyclopedic erudition, his latest book is among the best informed to have appeared in recent years." The same writer noted that Mango "writes with the relish of an aficionado" when he discusses Byzantium-Constantinople-Istanbul, and that his book is "indeed a rich, useful compendium." For Neva White, reviewing Discovering Turkey in Library Journal, the work "is something more than a guidebook." White further noted that Mango "writes with style and authority."
Mango has also examined Turkey's role in the modern world in 1975's Turkey: A Delicately Poised Ally and 1994's Turkey: The Challenge of a New Role. In the latter title, Mango delineates the major economic, political, and social developments in the country during the 1970s and 1980s and examines challenges and difficulties that it would face in the last decade of the twentieth century and on into the twenty-first. "This book is a tour de force and tour de horizon of modern Turkey by an old Turkish hand," wrote R. W. Olson in a Choice review. Olson, however, faulted the author for failing to point out that many of the domestic problems of modern Turkey stemmed from the "leaders' preoccupation with fighting the Kurdish national movement."
In 2000 Mango's long-awaited biography of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, was published. In Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey, the author traces the life and times of this man who created a modern, secular nation out of the defeated Ottoman Empire after World War I. "To write a biography of a national legend is no easy task," noted M. E. Yapp in the Times Literary Supplement. For Mango, the task took many years and also involved getting behind the myths about the man. In Turkey, Atatürk is still something of a "virtual deity," as Stephen Kinzer observed in the New York Times. By law, it is forbidden to criticize his memory; there are numerous churches and houses dedicated to him. Thus, for Mango, it was doubly difficult to get to the truth of this person whose modern secularism, called Kemalism, is still at the center of the Turkish state. According to a reviewer for the Economist, Mango "dispels the myth completely" from Atatürk's life, creating the "definitive English-language . . . biography." Likewise, David Pryce-Jones, reviewing the title in Commentary, observed that Mango "has now scrupulously separated fact from the massive accretions of fiction with which both Mustafa Kemal and his faithful followers built the legend of Atatürk."
Born Mustafa Kemal in 1881, Atatürk made up his own surname, which means "Father Turk." Mango "traces Atatürk['s] life through a period of cataclysm in the Ottoman Empire," as Graham E. Fuller wrote in the National Interest. He presents the young man as a soldier who helped to defeat the British during World War I at Gallipoli; as a leader of the War of Turkish Independence, which helped to free the country of Greek influence; and as the coordinator of a new movement to create a republic in 1923, of which he became the first president and virtual dictator, helping to bring his county into the twentieth century with liberal reforms. These reforms included abolition of religious courts, the gaining of equal rights by women, abolishment of a state religion, and adoption of the Latin script. "The life of Atatürk as chronicled by Mango is," according to Fuller, "an important study in enlightened statesmanship in an era when other major international statesmen were less enlightened—and less successful—in shepherding their peoples toward a better future." But, as a contributor for Publishers Weekly observed, "Mango's admiration for Atatürk doesn't keep him from displaying the dictator's arrogance, ruthlessness and authoritarianism" in this "rounded, finely detailed portrait."
Similarly, Ruth K. Baacke, writing in Library Journal, praised this "balanced and exhaustively researched account." George E. Gruen, writing in the Journal of International Affairs, also appreciated Mango's objectivity, stating that the author "demonstrates in great and fascinating detail [that] Atatürk remained a highly controversial figure in his own lifetime, and there is growing debate today . . . over the wisdom of some of his policies." Gruen went on to note, "The story is presented in a clear and interesting manner, and the author has enlivened the detailed historical narrative with numerous personal anecdotes." For Erik Jan Zurcher, writing in Middle Eastern Studies, Mango "has produced what is without doubt the best Atatürk biography available today." Michael Doran also commended the work in the Washington Post Book World: "Thanks to [Mango's] new biography, the best in the English language, a man both demonized and idolized now appears before us in three dimensions."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July 1, 1972, review of Discovering Turkey, p. 927; March 15, 2000, Frank Caso, review of Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey, p. 1323.
Choice, February, 1995, R. W. Olson, review of Turkey, p. 1001.
Commentary, July, 2000, David Pryce-Jones, review of Atatürk, p. 85.
Economist, December 11, 1999, review of Atatürk, p. 79.
Geographical Journal, 1969, W. C. Brice, review of Turkey, p. 91.
Journal of International Affairs, fall, 2000, George E. Gruen, review of Atatürk, pp. 311-318.
Library Journal, June 6, 1972, Neva White, review of Discovering Turkey, p. 2094; March 1, 2000, Ruth K. Baacke, review of Atatürk, p. 104.
Middle East, December, 1999, Fred Rhodes, review of Atatürk, p. 40.
Middle East Journal, spring, 1969, Ismet Giritli, review of Turkey, p. 253.
Middle East Quarterly, June, 2000, Daniel Pipes, review of Atatürk, p. 76.
Middle Eastern Studies, July, 2000, Erik Jan Zurcher, review of Atatürk, p. 253.
National Interest, fall, 2000, Graham E. Fuller, review of Atatürk, p. 98.
New Statesman, October 11, 1999, Mark Mazower, review of Atatürk, p. 53.
New York Times, October 3, 1997, Stephen Kinzer, "Bodrum Journal; Atatürk the Icon Is about to Take a Bit of a Hit."
Publishers Weekly, February 28, 2000, review of Atatürk, p.71.
Sunday Times, September 5, 1999, Norman Stone, review of Atatürk, p. 2.
Times Literary Supplement, May 30, 1968, review of Turkey, p. 558; April 21, 1972, review of Discovering Turkey, p. 455; January 11, 2002, M. E. Yapp, review of Atatürk, p. 10.
Washington Post Book World, July 9, 2000, Michael Doran, review of Atatürk, p. 8.
London Middle East Institute at SOAS,http://www.lmei.soas.ac.uk/ (January 27, 2004).
School of Oriental and African Studies,http://www.soas.ac.uk/ (January 22, 2004).*