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The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (Verba Mundi)

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4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  454 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The Forty Days of Musa Dagh is Franz Werfel's masterpiece that brought him international acclaim in 1933, drawing the world's attention to the Armenian genocide. This is the story of how the people of several Armenian villages in the mountains along the coast of present-day Turkey and Syria chose not to obey the deportation order of the Turkish government. Instead, they fo ...more
Paperback, 918 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Verba Mundi Books (first published 1933)
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Ted
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
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Ted
Feb 23, 2015 Ted added it
The miserable sight of some maimed and famished-looking refugee children, working in a carpet factory, gave me the final impulse to snatch from the Hades of all that was, this incomprehensible destiny of the Armenian nation. Franz Werfel




Franz Werfel in 1940. Photo by Carl Van Vechten.

Franz Werfel (10 September 1890 – 26 August 1945) was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet whose career spanned World War I, the Interwar period, and World War II. He is primarily known as the author
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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
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Juliane
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
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Jeff
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,
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Bank

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
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Barbara
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.
Stephen
Amazing novel. Musa Gabh is both physical and spiritual - usually in our lives it is either one or the other. The hero is at times adored and at times scorned. The hero is tempted and resists for the most part. The hero is transformed but never transcends. The hero leads but can't follow. The hero looks forward but stops at the edge. The role of suffering in a persons life and the ability to cope with that suffering is critical. Some prepare a darkened room, some seek solace in the arms of anoth ...more
Lee
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
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Tina Janik
Franz Werfel legt mit leichter Hand eine monumentale Schlacht hin. Der Roman erzählt nicht nur die Schicksale der Menschen, die sich auf dem Musa Dagh gegen die Angreifer verschanzen, sondern auch die detaillierten militärischen Details. Damit entsteht mehr als ein historischer Roman, der die vielfältig verwickelten Lebenslinien der Gemeinschaft auf dem Berg auslotet, es entsteht ein schillerndes Bild eines atemlosen Zustandes zwischen Hoffnung und Verzweiflung. Werfel lotet die Grauzonen dieses ...more
Marina
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.
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
Theut
Dolore, disperazione, speranza, riscossa, ancora dolore.
Ho letto molti libri sul genocidio armeno ma (e qui scriverò una cosa lapalissiana), sono i romanzi quelli che mi hanno più toccata perché, anche se con una certa dose di "finzione narrativa", danno l'idea di quante sofferenze, barbarie, pene, paure ci siano state.
Quest'anno ricorre il centenario.
Jane
Today is the 100th anniversary of the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. When first I heard that fact, I picked up this book and still remember the powerful reading experience.
Sally
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.
Rdt
This was a really good book that tells an important and little known story, and I would recommend it to anyone, but I was surprised to see how many five star ratings and glowing reviews that it got. It is a good piece of historical fiction with a story that is sometimes a page turner and with characters that are richly drawn, but somehow I felt that it was a little lacking as a piece of literature and sometimes felt a bit wooden. Some of the characters and plot points felt a bit constructed and ...more
Marion
I found this historical fiction account of the Armenian genocide to be very compelling and intriguing.
Cindy
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
Sealion
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
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Edith
In April 1915, well covered up by the turmoil of World War I raging all over Europe, the Ottoman rulers launched their big stroke against the hated Christian-Armenian population living in Eastern Anatolia, but not all Armenians accepted the “relocation” to the Syrian desert, which became known as the Armenian genocide, without fight.

Based on a true story Franz Werfel's novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh gives early fictional (!) account of the resistance that the inhabitants of six Armenian vil
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Martha Heindl
A wonderful Book, a must read after (rather than before) a journey to Armenia. The sad thing is that mankind is not learning from the past, that genocides continue to be happening in the 21st century. Werfel made a significant contribution to the understanding of the Armenian genozid, however there are still voices denying the facts.
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.
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!
Rima
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.
Carolyn
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.
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57432
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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“Эта книга была написана в 1933 году. Она была одним из первых выстрелов, одним из первых предупреждений и самой Германии и всему человечеству о появлении реального фашизма во всей его омерзительной, кровавой сущности.” 0 likes
“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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