Not Even My Name
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Not Even My Name

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  434 ratings  ·  88 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
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Published November 28th 2000 by Picador USA (first published 2000)
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Chrissie
NO SPOILERS!!!

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...more
Paige
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...more
Megan
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
aizjanika
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
Doreen
May 01, 2011 Doreen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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, .......more
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,...more
Deborah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Superstella
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.
Wendy
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.
Sandy
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.
Tiki
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
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...more
Anna
Not Even My Name is divided into three parts. The first part is told by Thea, who goes to Turkey with her mother in search of her mother's lost past. The second is Sano's story in first-person.
Although I have never read a book on this subject, (I mostly read WWII/Holocaust themed books) I really enjoyed it and I learned quite a bit. If you are new to the Armenian Genocide, this is a good way to start. The writing is interesting and the story itself is interesting.
The story is divided into little...more
Alesa
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
Katie
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...more
Astrid Yrigollen
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Sharon Jones
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 people....at 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...more
Jumana
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
Andrea
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
Joy
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
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.
Brenda
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
Brett
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
Pat
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.
Michelle
Very sensitive, well-written account of the author's mother's survival during the genocide taking place in Turkey during and after WWI. The author's mother was not Armenian but Pontic Greek, and I'd never previously heard of the case of these other Christian minorities also slated for "ethnic cleansing" but the Turks. I'm always happy to read books like this--the Turkish "it never happened" brigade has been exceptionally busy in recent years and has succeeded in erasing mention of these events o...more
Sarah
A coworker of mine loaned me this book upon my return from Turkey. It's a heartbreaking true story of one woman's survival of the Greek death marches in the 20s from Turkish villages to her arranged marriage at the young age of 15 and her arrival and life in New York. I loved the historical chapters which contained facts about the 'ethnic cleansing' that went on which Turkey still denies (probably the main reason Europe is hesitant to allow Turkey into the EU). It's upsetting how America turned...more
Karen Batshaw
Wow. What a powerful heart wrenching book. I couldn't put it down. Makes one think about all the evil in the world.
Kathleen McRae
This is a well written and interesting true account of a woman's life .The woman is a Pontic Greek,who along with Armenians and Assyrians were persecuted and chased from their homes by the Turkish government following WW11.This account was written by the survivors daughter.This woman's story made me reflect on how very little has changed in almost ninety five years despite technological advances. Her story wasn't just a tale of personel survival but a tale of women in a man's world.It is a probl...more
Heather
Just a remarkable, heart wrenching story. We just never seem to learn and keep seeing this over and over again in society. This is the true story of the authors mother and her survival of the death march in Turkey at the end of World War 1. And then the subsequent story fo her journey and life in America. This is little known part of history and Turkey has doen a good pr job of burying it. The genocide was aimed at more than just the Armenians...it also encompassed Assyrians, and Greeks, and bas...more
Trish
Sep 08, 2008 Trish rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Somebody looking to learn more about unknown historical events
I wasen't even aware that an Armenian Genocide existed in history until I was educated by a co-worker of mine. Reading this book really put into perspective how fortunate I am to be living in a time & Country that is not currently suffering through such horrible events. This book really hit home to me in current events Canada had just recognized the events I was reading about as an actual hollocaust as so much of the world still denies in the politcal sense. In fact as I was reading this boo...more
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Thea Halo is a writer and painter who has won awards for her poetry and essays, and has exhibited her paintings in galleries in New York City and elsewhere. She lives in New York City. Sano Halo is a recipient of New York State's Governor's Award for Excellence in honor of Women's History Month, "Celebrating Women of Courage and Vision."
More about Thea Halo...

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