Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide And The Question Of Turkish Responsibility” as Want to Read:
A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide And The Question Of Turkish Responsibility
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide And The Question Of Turkish Responsibility

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  255 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
In 1915, the Turkish government systematically organised the wholesale slaughter the Armenians: over 1 million Armenians were murdered, starved, raped and left to die. Taker Akcam offers this definitive history of the genocide.
Paperback, 580 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Constable & Robinson (first published November 14th 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Shameful Act, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Shameful Act

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 16, 2012 Sern rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

First of all, I would like to whisper this to those potential members who are Armenian or come from Armenian background: I am a Turk and I can tell you safely that the number of us who know about this barbaric act in our national history and feel utterly ashamed about it is increasing. Please do not think that Taner Akcam is alone.

Understandably, this book is quite challenging for those of you who are not familiar with Turkish history -not surprising that some of the members' reviews mentioned t
Jeni Enjaian
I did not know that a book like this on the Armenian Genocide written by a Turk existed so when I found it I knew I had to read it. I was completely blown away. I understand the complaint that I've read in other reviews that the author's almost obsessive need to document every detail about the lead up to and cover up of the Genocide was off putting. For me as a Master's in History student with a thesis topic of the Genocide this book proved immensely valuable. I am deeply indebted to the author' ...more
Megan Blood
3.5 stars. I'll be honest--I skimmed this one. It's dense reading, and I was sort of done with the whole topic. But, from what I read, I'm VERY impressed. Very clearly written, very well supported. And the fact that he's a Turk: the first one to speak out about what happened to the Armenians (obviously he's no longer living there). It's a brilliant rebuttal to all the Turkish propaganda about the Armenians starting it all.
Oct 11, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent revisionist history. A must-read!
Amy Cornell
May 19, 2008 Amy Cornell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A painful book to read. I found myself saddened by every page. But essential reading to understand how such a series of disgusting acts took the lives of so many innocent people.
Jul 22, 2012 Jpp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un acte honteux. Sous ce titre l historien turc Taner Akçam a réalisé un travail lucide et courageux. Si il défend le caractère génocidaire des massacres, et leur préparation au sommet de l'état ottaman par une partie de l appareil gouvernemental, il repose aussi bien les responsabilités dans le cadre historique complexe de l'époque, et en particulier des cycles de massacres et vengeances entre communautés turques, grecques, kurdes et arméniennes à partir de 1878, des doubles jeux des puissances ...more
May 21, 2015 How_sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very important for acknowledging and addressing the Armenian genocide of 1915. Akcam is very thorough in his research and presents readers with a clear understanding of the social and political climate leading up to 1915, as well as the years following and why nothing ever came of efforts to prosecute those responsible. Unfortunately, this issue remains a toxic subject in Turkey and Akcam's book, while very important, is unlikely to help stimulate any real discussion of the events.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Levon EVHS Gevorgyan
This book is an extensive and thorough study of the Armenian Genocide. It shows how many conflicts and territorial losses drove the Ottoman Turks to massacre the Armenian Christians. Using evidence, this book clearly shows that the actions committed by the Young Turks and their followers were indeed a systematic attempt to remove a nation from the face of the Earth. This book also shows the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.
Edward Sullivan
An excellent, lucid account painstakingly researched.
Andrea Johnson
Jan 20, 2017 Andrea Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really, I have only partially read this book. I use it as a reference book. The writing is very dense and slow-going and the topic is one that I take in small doses only. The highly-esteemed author is a hero to descendants of the Armenian genocide survivors (and non-survivors.) A Turkish academician, he unflinchingly examines and presents documentation of the premeditated state-sponsored plan to commit genocide against the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire during the first world war. He was ...more
Samantha Mendoza
This book was profoundly interesting. It gave so much information about the Armenian Genocide that I did not know about. After reading this book, I feel so much more knowledgeable. It discusses important points such as why they genocide happened and what exactly caused it. Some parts were difficult to read and understand at some points but after re-reading it a second time it made more sense!
Mel Foster
Mar 08, 2015 Mel Foster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please note the significance of the subtitle. This book does not attempt to chronicle the eyewitness accounts of the Armenian genocide. If that is what you are looking for, there are other books. What Taner Akçam is doing here is investigating the culpability of the Turkish people and nation in the genocide. The title is an allusion to a statement by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, clearly an appeal to a Turkish audience for serious consideration.
What are Akçam's significant accomplishments? First, demo
Dec 21, 2016 Monica rated it really liked it
For a historical book dealing with a heay and contested subject, it was an incredibly absorbing and lucid read. The first Turkish historian to tackle the issue of the Armenian genocide and prove through contemporary Turkish and international documents that the CUP (The Committe of Union and Progress) lead by the Young Turks leadership (Enver Pasha, Talaat Pasha, Djemal Pasha) with the cooperation of the Turkish local administration set on the total extermination of the Armenian population in the ...more
Kaarthik Anebou
May 25, 2013 Kaarthik Anebou rated it really liked it
The book is overall a really good one in content. It provides ample evidence and details on the people who orchestered the armenian deportation & subsequent activities that are disturbing. It provides information on post WW I turkey, it's formation & how/what it's leaders wanted to do with their past. It also stresses what the allied or World powers were after (very cheap and shameful behaviour) in the Ottoman empire. Their constant meddling in the Ottoman empire's domestic activities &a ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Lizixer rated it really liked it
This 'act' has almost been consigned to a footnote in WW1 history but many significant things are discussed in this book that remain relevant today. The final chapter on 'Why the post-war trials' failed raises important questions about how intervention on humanitarian grounds often masks imperialist or colonial agendas and are even driven less by a desire to punish the guilty but as a way of bolstering interventionist supporting governments at home (or attacking them).

This book is not about desc
Michael Griswold
This book garnered a lot of attention when it was published several years ago because it's a Turkish scholar with a sympathetic view towards the Armenians.

While I'm no genocide expert, it does strike one as curious that there are so many records that don't exist from the time period in question. If Turkey and/or the Ottoman Empire really had nothing to hide in this matter than where are the records? With that said, these holes in the historical record create a weaker accounting of events.

I would
Oct 05, 2016 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
My husband is Armenian and his great-grandparents survived the Armenian genocide, so I was interested in learning more. I heard about this book from an author friend who was reading it. (Thanks, Goodreads and Simon Wood!). So, I checked it out. Now my reading list reads a little wonky as I have added several sources. This book is from the Turkish perspective in that much of the source documentation is from what has survived of Turkish records (much was destroyed), and from various liaisons from ...more
Feb 22, 2010 Benjamin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for a good sleep aid.
Shelves: given-up
I'm marking this as read but only in the sense that I've read as much as I'm willing to. Life is too short to waster on boring history. After 160+ pages in two months and no sign of the genocide actually beginning, I give up. It's a shame to because this is a subject I was interested to learn about and I've read other genocide histories that I've gotten a lot out of. This is a case where the author decided that every fact he researched was going to make it into the book whether it was interestin ...more
Mar 20, 2016 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very important book - Akcam shows his bravey by going against the grain to report a controversial subject. Akcam shows his dedication to truth. Yes, he occasionally bogs down the discussion with the deep details...but he does an excellent job of showing how the Armenian genocide happened and describes a side of the argument so frequently ignored.

You will not read this without feeling upset by the systematic betrayal of the truth and foolish decisions that influenced the modern-day Turkish posi
Mar 12, 2016 Resalo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book I feel both shock and anger at how the Armenian Genocide has been treated in history. Clearly the Ottoman government ordered the mass deportation and execution of close to 1 million Armenian men, women and children in 1915. Yet to this day no one will apologize nor take responsibility. Although this book is very well researched, I felt the writing was very repetitive and could have conveyed the history in far fewer pages. I am however glad that I read this.
Peter Thorn
This was a brave book to write. The Turkish standpoint on this issue brooks no aggression, as pointed out by the author, so his viewpoint was not a popular one. It certainly can be a bit dry at times, but statistics and empirical data are undeniably what this book needs, rather than anecdotal evidence, in order to make the point of how undeniable this event is. The book is certainly useful, definitely interesting, but not always exactly a page turner - not that it should be.
Apr 04, 2011 Raquel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting...I will have to admit that I knew nothing about the genocide on the Armenian people. But, in an attempt to provide the reader with every single detail leading up to the genocide events, the author had me lost, confused and bored. It was very difficult to finish reading the book because of such.
Oct 19, 2008 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009, turkey
A well-researched and detailed account of the Armenian genocide of 1915-17. The writing is a bit dry and can be repetitive and the book tends to jump back and forth along the timeline. Otherwise, wildly informative and incredibly persuasive.
Sep 09, 2012 Tulio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
dense but the definite dossier for the genocide.
Jul 22, 2012 Alain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Traduction française pénible.
Murat Yücel
Jan 11, 2015 Murat Yücel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An impostor, trying to exploit his Turkish ancestry. He's shouting too much, that you can undestand he's not just.
Jun 13, 2016 Gort rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fugit quos ut. Ad dolorum qui illo. Doloremque tenetur consequuntur. Iure officiis provident illum suscipit quas et in.
Dean Athans
Brave and well crafted.
Rip rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response
  • Armenian Golgotha
  • Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide
  • The Knock at the Door: A Journey Through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide
  • My Grandmother: A Memoir
  • Three Apples Fell From Heaven
  • The Forty Days of Musa Dagh
  • Not Even My Name: A True Story
  • Passage to Ararat (FSG Classics)
  • The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War
  • The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives
  • The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300-1600
  • Rise the Euphrates
  • They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in The Hague
  • The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia
  • Gallipoli
  • Skylark Farm
  • ابن القرية والكتاب : ملامح سيرة ومسيرة -ج1
Altuğ Taner Akçam is a Turkish historian and sociologist, recognized as a "leading international authority on the Armenian genocide". He is one of the first Turkish academics to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide.
More about Taner Akçam...

Share This Book

“As a rule, if a crime is committed by one group against another ethnic or religious group, it is nearly impossible for the perpetrator to punish itself.” 2 likes
“The attempt to justify and rationalize the death of a whole nation, including women, children, the old and infirm, must itself be considered a crime against humanity.” 2 likes
More quotes…