The Forty Days of Musa Dagh
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The Forty Days of Musa Dagh

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  39 reviews
During World War I, Gabriel Bagradian learns of Turkish plans to exterminate the Armenians, and leads his village to the mountain Musa Dagh in hopes of defending themselves.
Paperback, 824 pages
Published July 18th 2000 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1933)
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Don't remember enough about the book (read about 40 years ago) to say anything intelligent. However, I do remember that it was a fascinating story, and was a page-turner for me. It is based on the Armenian genocide that occurred in Turkey during World War I. According to Wiki, it was this novel, which Werfel is said to have researched in depth, which revealed the events upon which it is based to the world beyond Turkey. It was published in 1933, 18 years after those events.

The book was banned in...more
Matt Howard
The 1915 genocide of the Turks against the Armenians told through the eyes of an Armenian head-of-family. Truly grim without containing more than a hint of graphically described violence. In my opinion, a forgotten masterpiece.

Update: I read this book in my late teens - in other words, 50 years ago. At the time, I was unaware of the continuing campaign by Armenians to persuade modern Turkey to acknowledge the events of the time as genocide. Now, in 2009, Turkey's continued resistance to doing so...more
Dec 08, 2009 Juliane rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who is interested in Armenian history
An exceptionally well-written book which I highly recommend for everyone interested in the history of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the genocide committed by the Turks in 1915 and the local Armenian resistance against the activities of the Ottoman Empire in the region. Based on the real-life defense of Musa Dagh's Damlayik Werfel tells us the fictionalized story of the Turkish genocide of Armenians through the eyes of Gabriel Bagradian, an Armenian who, although growing up in his native villa...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is very good historical fiction. There are a few slow spots, but mostly quite well-written and a page-turner. The leader, Gabriel Bagradian, is the primary focus of the story, but there is a large cast of characters and the story is told from these various viewpoints. Two pages in this edition list these named characters, and there are also several pages of regional terms helpful to the reader's understanding.

While I believe Turkey still refuses to officially acknowledge the Armenian genoc...more

Musa Dagh is a mountain on the Syrian coast where seven Armenian villages of maybe 5,000 people made a last stand against the Ottoman Empire' s Armenian genocide during WW 1 . This book of the same name was written by Franz Werfel , an Austrian Jew , in 1933 . It is an excellent recounting of the Armenian genocide in a historical fiction format , and of Musa Dagh ( translation Mount Moses ). When published , Werfel was living in Austria as Hitler rose to power and most literary critics then and...more
This is a truly great book. It has great characters and tremendous drama. It also provides great insight into the problems between Armenians and Turks. And it's a great read. I couldn't stop readingi t.
Regarding the story itself, it's a book that you can't put down. Not being able to read 800 pages in a sitting, I constantly had trouble finding a cut off point.

More importantly, it's a masterwork of historical-fiction that illuminates in close-up and detailed fashion some of the cultural, political, and historical aspects of the tragic event which, even in its more factual and blatant respects, is not always well understood. Using very detailed personal/ethnic portraits and, on a larger scale,...more
This story was written in the early 1930s and was as controversial then as Resolution 106 has been in the last few months and for the same reasons. Reading it while the Resolution was being debated made it all the more compelling and I hope you will take the time to get to know this story.

The story is based on an Armenian who has been living in Paris and married to a French woman before returning to his home in Anatolian Armenia around 1915. His leadership develops as he reconnects to his count...more
Whew finally done! This is a three-booker and although it is easy to read, it just took me some time. It is extremely interesting if you are at all interested in the cultural and political situation at the time of the Armenian genocide in Turkey in 1915. The story is told in terms of how human relations are changed in a time of war, hardship, and persecution. There are no gory battle images and it is uplifting in how mankind can overcome and the good can rise above the evil.
This was about the Armenian massacre by Turkey in the early 20th century. Although a novel, I believe it was based on true events. Gripping.
Miguel García Ferrera
Uno de mis libros favoritos. Una novela histórica ambientada en el cruel genocidio turco sobre los armenios de principios del siglo XXI.
I found this historical fiction account of the Armenian genocide to be very compelling and intriguing.
Feb 22, 2011 Cindy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Chris Bohjalian gives this 5 stars. Sounds like it could be an interesting read
Pohnutá historie Arménů během první světové války. Hlavní hrdina Bagration se statečně rozhodne neustupovat zlu, ale postavit se genocidě ze strany Turků se zbraní v ruce po boku svých arménských krajanů. Turecko genocidu a přesídlení celého národa dodnes neuznává...

Tragic history of Armen nation during the first world war. Main hero, French citizen Bagration decides not to step back in front of evil, but to fight against wicked Turks with a gun in his hand and right next to his nation. Turkey h...more
Jacob Martin
An extraordinary book, a sweeping and moving epic about a much overlooked moment in history. At times comic, thrilling and very moving. Wonderful characterisation and its place in the very complex relations of these two countries makes it all the more fascinating a read. The war sections read like Hemingway and the peace sections read like Hugo a truly wonderful read. Has things to say about religion, war, human prejudice, fatherhood and love.
David R.  Godine
"In every sense a true and thrilling novel… It tells a story which it is almost one's duty as an intelligent human being to read. And one's duty here becomes one's pleasure also."

New York Times Book Review

"Forty Days will invade your senses and keep the blood pounding. Once read, it will never be forgotten."

New York Times
John Moonitz
Well written and easy to read . . . This was my introduction to the Armenian Genocide, which occurred at the close of the Great War . . . My professor was Richard Hovannisian . . . one of the best courses I had at university! This still needs to be made into a movie!! Come on Spielberg! Get with the program!
This book gives a fictionalized account of the battle that took place between the Armenian villagers of the Musa Dagh region against the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey) in the early 1900 - in some ways a David vs. Goliath story. This is based on a true story of courage and survival that lasted for two months.
Chris Forlian
The book is rather clunking in the plotting and writing at times and perhaps a bit dragging in parts, but it's OK.
I would recommend Bernadette much more than this book. Bernadette is a wonderful book wonderfully written, which is why The Forty Days is perhaps so surprising in its quality.
This was one of the best books I have ever read! Over 800 pages...every time I had to put it down I couldn't wait to get back to it. The reader's interest is held right to the very last page! Brilliant! A very sad story though about the effects of warfare on a population.
James Violand
Jul 13, 2014 James Violand rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: own
A very good book describing a clash of religions manipulated by politicians for their own ends. The Armenian genocide during WWI should have awakened the world that unchecked evil could produce the Holocaust.
Unfortunately, the audiobook was abridged and the editor had cut substantially on personal scenes in the second half of the novel - the more interesting parts. Thus, the audiobook is mainly about the fights.
This was a gift from a colleague, originally written in German about the Armenian genocide in 1915. Eerily prescient on many levels, but ultimately a story of hope. Glad I took the time on this one.
Susie Kelly
A potentially fascinating story, but horribly long-winded. It took me nearly 40 days to read, and towards the end I was skipping large chunks just to find out what would happen to Bagradian.
Wil Van der heide
“Zoals allen, die zich te kort gedaan voelden, waren zij voor iedere opgeschroefde agitatie van godsdienstige of politieke aard hoogst vatbaar.” pg. 634
la storia della resistenza di un gruppo di armeni al genocidio turco. un vero e proprio poema in prosa, potente, epico.
(peccato per la traduzione antiquata)
Cristian Ciurel
It's incredible what happened to the Armenians those days and not after so many years a simple I'm sorry was not said by the culprits.Shame on them.
This is portrayal of real event which happened during WW I to Armenian Christians and their attempted genecide by the Turks.
Nat Bond
An extraordinary analysis of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians during World War I. I had never heard of the book before
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Czech-born poet, playwright, and novelist, whose central themes were religious faith, heroism, and human brotherhood. Franz Werfel's best-known works include The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933), a classic historical novel that portrays Armenian resistance to the Turks, and The Song of Bernadette (1941). The latter book had its start when Werfel, a Jew escaping the Nazis, found solace in the pilgrim...more
More about Franz Werfel...
The Song of Bernadette Eine blaßblaue Frauenschrift Star of the Unborn Der Abituriententag Verdi: Roman der Oper

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“For many people it is depressing even to move house. A lost fragment of life always remains. To move to another town, settle in a foreign country, is for everyone a major decision. But, to be suddenly driven forth, within twenty-four hours, from one's home, one's work, the reward of years of steady industry. To become a helpless prey of help. To be sent defenceless out to Asiatic highroads, with several thousand miles of dust, stones, and morass before one. To know that one will never again find a decently human habitation, never again sit down to a proper table. Yet this is all nothing. To be more shackled than any convict. To be counted as outside the law, a vagabond, whom anyone has the right to kill unpunished.” 0 likes
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