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Not Even My Name

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  624 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
A riveting account of exile from Turkish genocide, brought to light for the first time ever in Sano Halo's personal story Not Even My Name exposes the genocide carried out during and after WW I in Turkey, which brought to a tragic end the 3000-year history of the Pontic Greeks (named for the Pontic Mountain range below the Black Sea). During this time, almost 2 million Pon ...more
Published November 28th 2000 by Picador USA (first published 2000)
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This book gets 5 stars. I don't care if at points the text seemed a little simplistic. I don't care at all. I don't give a hoot. The message is beautiful. What it teaches is beautiful, and I LOVE Sano the mother of the author. It is her that has done the teaching. This book is not just a book about Turkish ethnic cleansing. Yes, you get that too, but the prime message is how one should live a life. If you do not read this bok, you will never know about Sano. She is one of those ind
Jul 08, 2013 Paige rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because it had been sitting on my to-read list for years and I'm really trying to downsize it so that I can make actual use of it. I kind of wish I had "downsized" this book.

By all outward measures I should have liked it. It's history and memoir. It deals with the little-known genocide & exiles conducted against Christian (in this case Pontic Greek but also Assyrian) minorities in Turkey. A review from the Washington Post Book World says, "It is impossible to read the story
Jun 28, 2011 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sano Halo survived the Turkish genocide committed against The Pontic Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians in the early 20th century. It was not until Sano's daughter, Thea, wrote her mother's story after traveling back to Turkey that the fragments of memory were pieced together to create a tragic and beautiful tapestry. I read this book in eight hours, and lost myself in the vivid and often heartbreaking imagery that accompanied the narrative. As the great-granddaughter of Greek immigrants, I found ...more
Feb 16, 2011 aizjanika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By focusing mostly on the story of one Pontic Greek woman who was exiled from her home in Asian Minor (Turkey) at the age of 10, this book also tells the story of all the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians who were also slaughtered or driven from their homes on death marches in the early parts of the 1900s. The author is the daughter of the woman in the story, so it's also the story of the daughter's realization and understanding. The structure of the book is also very interesting, because ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Superstella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about halfway through this book and don't know if I can continue. The scene that opens one of the chapters got to me so badly that I had to make myself walk away for a while. I simply cannot fathom how one can endure such atrocities and then be expected to continue any sort of normal life. How does one put such things out of one's mind?

I hope to be able to pick it back up and continue at some point, but I need to read something lighter in the interim.
May 01, 2011 Doreen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Laura, Barbara, Diane and all women...mothers, wives, daughters
Recommended to Doreen by: saw it on a shelf
This story is, quite honestly, one of the most touching, lovingly written memoirs I've read. The daughter helps tell her mother's story. It is written with historical fact that is not widely known, as well as with the years of memories her mother has stored in her heart.

The Turks drove her mother's people from their land in death marches that we are not taught about in school. Everything is stolen from her mom. Her mother is robbed of her childhood, her innocence, her parents, her siblings, ....
Nov 12, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A daughter's loving tribute to her mother and her mother's people, the Pontic Greeks of Turkey. At around 10 years old (she did not know her exact age), Sano, the author's mother, was driven from their village in Turkey's Pontian Mountains through the southern deserts of Turkey. Most of the people died of disease and starvation along the way. Later, Sano is married to an American immigrant, a Turkish-born Assyrian, another minority group forced on a death march from Turkey.

When I picked up the b
Hariklia Heristanidis
I don't think I can add much to the many excellent reviews already here at Goodreads; the blurb too, describes the book well; but what I can contribute is a very personal response.
I chose to read "Not Even my Name" because like Sano, the main "character", my grandparents fled Asia Minor to escape slaughter by the Turks. Where she went to America, my grandparents (from both my mother and father's sides) went to Greece. In the very next generation, my parents fled poverty and political oppression,
Jan 05, 2016 Christiane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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Jan 09, 2013 Deborah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek-related
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Feb 16, 2013 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note to self: this would be a fantastic book club book!! The true story of a young girl who survived the genocides in turkey in the 1920's. It is written by her daughter who did a fantastic job of including the history along with the moving story of the mothers difficult life. The memories that are related about the love of the grandmother to the mother are so sweet and encouraging.
Jun 01, 2014 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lovedit
One of the best books I have ever EVER read. It reads like fiction, it isn't, and you can't believe this really happened. How could this happen? When I am asked what my favorite book is, I tell them Not Even My Name.
Aug 09, 2014 Tiki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is why many in Greece still say "o monos kalos Turkos einai nekros Turkos" or the only good Turk is a dead Turk. This genocide against the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian populations was heartbreaking - maybe more so in Turkey's shameful denial of these events to this day. Just ask writer Orhan Pamuk who was jailed over speaking the truth. Sano's story is one of survival; many weren't that lucky, but it came at a great price which was to lose all her family. This is a beautifully written ...more
Nancy Backas
Jan 18, 2016 Nancy Backas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because my grandmother was from Turkey, this book was especially poignant for me. While her story was very much different, knowing the history of both the Pontic and the Ionian Greeks who lived in Turkey for millenia, helped me to understand the tragedy of that period in history. It is a very personal, true story told from the perspective of a woman who was the only in her family to survive the death march. Not only does one get a glimpse of what that terrible time was like, but also an inside v ...more
Rebecca Russell
Jun 21, 2016 Rebecca Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book blew my mind! It is an account of a genocide in Turkish history about which I'd never heard; the persecution, exile and even slaughter of Christian Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, which happened shortly after WWI.
The book focuses on a girl that survives with very little of her past intact, including her given name. It is a moving memoir and spectacular eye-witness account of a shameful chapter in human history.
I loved that first a touching picture of the simple life she lived
There’s a worthwhile reason to recount history – in the hope that it’s never repeated… Not Even My Name is a heartbreaking account of Sano Halo, a Pontic Greek who lived in Turkey as a child and whose family had deep roots in Turkey having lived there for generations. But between 1915 and 1923, more than 350,000 Pontic Greeks, 750,000 Assyrians and 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered and more than 1.5 million Greeks were exiled from Turkey. At the age of 10, Sano, her entire family and villag ...more
More like 2.5. I wanted to like this book more than I did but the book did not meet my expectations. The book was framed with the author's mother, Sano, returning to Turkey after many years to see if the house and village in which she had lived as a child were still there, how things had changed, and at the last, her visit. In between, the author recounts her mother's story through the years, from childhood, the Greek villagers' expulsion by the Turkish government, and a death march of the Ponti ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It was an emotional experience to read this poignant life story. Thea's mother Sano lived her life fully and with grace. Grace under pressure that is unimaginable to most Americans. She starts in the warm, exuberance of a happy, loving family in a safe community, and then free-falls into crushing desperation as her entire village is forced into a death march by the genocidal "Young Turks" (a brief preface to Ataturk's rise.)

This woman was caught up by one in a series of movements to eradicate Ch
Feb 06, 2011 Alesa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the true story of the author's mother, who was a Greek from near the Black Sea in Turkey. The Greeks there were an ethnic minority, and had lived there for several thousand years. In the 1920s, the Turks did their much-publicized ethnic cleansing of the Armenians. What is less known is that also "cleansed" other Christian groups, including the Greeks and Assyrians. (Small groups of these same Assyrians live in Kurdistan; I went to one of their weddings.) About three million people were k ...more
This is one of those books that would have been absolutely amazing based on subject matter alone, but execution prevent it from getting five stars (and maybe even from fulling earning its fourth).

The Good: The book elucidates the genocide of Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks in Turkey during the early 1920s, which is an enormously overlooked chapter in history. Admittedly, I didn't know much about it other than that the uber-basic details, and while this book doesn't provide a com
Astrid Yrigollen
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Sharon Jones
Dec 10, 2013 Sharon Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know nothing about the problems between Turkey and Greece and this book was a learning experience for me.

It is a shame what people will do to one another and this book shows the worst in least as far as the death marches are concerned. What it does show is the stamina of people, at least the stronger ones. This is a book that shows that in spite of expecting nothing but simple pleasures and being denied them, people move on and remain strong. The descriptions by this woman are fa
Sep 02, 2013 Jumana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I was completely mesmerized by this book. This is a true story of a family, and a people, destroyed by genocide. I had never heard of Pontic Greeks before, nor had I known that there was such a massive ethnic cleansing of Christians in Turkey. Shocking, horrifying, heartbreaking. This memoir documents a way of life that no longer exists. It also tells the story of a girl who grows up in the most terrible of circumstances, but manages to maintain her principles and values throughout. There is one ...more
This was a really moving read. The writing was a little awkward sometimes, but it's impossible to judge a personal story about a little known historical tragedy on its technical merits. Sano, originally named Themia, was born in a small village of Pontic Greeks who had been living the mountains of Turkey for over 2000 years. Caught between warring groups and part of a Christian minority, she and her family were pushed off their lands during years of horrible genocide and forced death marches. Af ...more
Jun 16, 2008 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing true story of a little known genocide in Turkey before the first world war. The Armenian genocide is known as the first genocide of the 20th century. The author, Thea, gives much background information about the events and chronicles her journey with her mother to find the small town where she grew up in Turkey. Throughout the journey, Sano, Thea's mother, shares her life story. I read this book with a group of seniors doing a literature circle and they were all deeply touched ...more
Teresa Tsalaky
Jun 27, 2014 Teresa Tsalaky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My aunt gave this book to me. She said she wanted me to know what her grandfather had gone through in Turkey before escaping back to his homeland of Greece. This is a nonfiction account of a woman's survival of the ethnic cleansing that resulted in the deaths of two million Greeks and Armenians. Compassionate and well-written, it reads like a novel.
Nov 21, 2009 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever heard of the Pontic Greeks? or the genocide of the Greeks and Armenians at the hands of their neighbors, the Turks? I hadn't. The first 3/4 of this book takes place in a time and place and circumstance unknown to me. Eye opening and difficult. Don't be put off by a few pages of ancient historical background. The last 1/4 is reminiscent of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - but it is a mother and not a young girl whose perspective we see. This book takes you from childhood serenity to hards ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Tina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A story about a human being's resilience

A sad book about the inhumanness of humans. But also a story about strength and courage. The author manages to portray the two extremes of kindness and cruelty in this story. Sometimes too much detail is given but the book is well worth a read.
Mar 10, 2008 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part political history and part family drama, “Not Even My Name” relives the brutality of Turkey’s attempts to eradicate its Christian minorities (Armenian, Assyrian, and Pontic Greek) at the beginning of the 20th century. Written as a first-person narrative, the author – the daughter of a survivor of two genocide attempts – recounts her mother’s struggle for survival and dignity as she flees from northern Turkey to southern, from Syria to Lebanon, and eventually to New York City. Over sixty yea ...more
May 23, 2014 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. It is remarkable how much a human can stand. As a child the main character is driven in a death march, practically starved to death, and given away by her parents to try to help her live. How she adapts and manages to survive is told beautifully.
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Thea Halo (born 1941) is an American writer and painter of Assyrian and Greek heritage. Born in New York City she is the 8th child of Abraham and Sano Halo. Thea began writing poetry and short-stories in 1992 and in 2000 she published her book Not Even My Name the memoir of her mother who belonged in Turkey's Greek minority.
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“It seemed that our family had been on this land for thousands of years; that we had sprung from the earth, born of its flesh like a tree or a flower, deep-rooted, not by our feet, but by our hearts.” 0 likes
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