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The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,167 ratings  ·  220 reviews
The inspiring story of a young Armenian’s harrowing escape from genocide and of his granddaughter’s quest to retrace his steps

Growing up, Dawn MacKeen heard fragments of her grandfather Stepan’s story, of how he was swept up in the deadly mass deportation of Armenians during World War I and of how he miraculously managed to escape.

Longing for a fuller picture of Stepan’s
Paperback, 340 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Mariner Books (first published January 12th 2016)
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Dawn MacKeen Thank you, Haigaram. The cover was designed by the amazing Martha Kennedy, who is a designer at my publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I just love i…moreThank you, Haigaram. The cover was designed by the amazing Martha Kennedy, who is a designer at my publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I just love it, too; it seems to capture the sorrow and the resilience of the Armenians. As I was just telling another person, "Under the Black Tree" was the name of the old Armenian quarter in my grandfather's town, and the inspiration for the cover.(less)
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Always Pouting
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading memoirs about ethnic cleansing is always difficult, at multiple points I had to put the book down and take a breathe because I felt so overwhelmed and upset by the things being described. The things that are the hardest to confront or think about are the most important to do so with and so I think that this is a really worthwhile read. Especially if the Turkish still won't acknowledge what happened, that makes it more imperative to make sure everyone knows what happened with the Armenian ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly hard to get through. Not because of the author, don't get me wrong. This book is beautifully written. The author intertwines her grandfather's story (past) with her own (present). It's the subject matter that got to me. It made me sick. Sick to read about the deaths, the murder, the gross atrocities. But even more than that, I'm sick that I knew nothing about the Armenian genocide. Read this book. Read this book not because it is a lighthearted tale. Read this book for t ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I have read a number of books on World War II and the Jewish Holocaust, and I am always left speechless by the atrocities that humans inflicted on other humans solely because of the religion a person was born into. I knew much less about World War I and the massive Armenian genocide, which was the topic of this memoir. Dawn Anahid MacKeen pieced together her Armenian grandfather's experiences from his personal journals, countless interviews, and clearly a great deal of research. Alternating betw ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi
The 100 Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Dawn Anahid MacKeen

The Armenian genocide should be taught in every high school world history curriculum. Sadly it was not taught in mine nor in my daughter’s more recent IB world history curriculum. Perhaps it is because there are only so many horrors that can be absorbed in one history class. More likely the omission is that the Ottoman theater was so far removed from the trench warfare in France and did not play a major role in the outcome in the West.
Anja Polyakova
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After having read The Hundred-Year Walk, I couldn't not to write a review about one of the heaviest books out there. This page turning masterpiece made me discover the detailed cruelty of yet another massive annihilation of the entire ethnicity group. Carefully hidden page of the history is being unfolded by wonderful and fearless Dawn Anahid MacKeen! She compassionately delivers to us the long struggle for survival of her grandfather who along with his family was affected by horrific deportatio ...more
Aline Ohanesian
Following the detailed memoirs of her grandfather, MacKeen delves into
the darkest recesses of human history. Part family heirloom, part
history lesson,The Hundred Year Walk is an emotionally poignant work,
powerfully imagined and expertly crafted. The considerable archival
scaffolding remains invisible as MacKeen carries her readers on an
emotional journey full of heartache and hope.
H. Janjanian
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She has such an endearing style of making tragedy her grandfather lived through more palatable, even with humor. Her list of references and resources is nothing short of what a historian would have used. Bravo !!
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The more I learn of history, the more I see events repeating themselves. In some cases, it’s fascinating to see. In others, the repetition breaks my heart. For example, many people had pointed out the similarity in western countries denial of refugees from Syria is an awful lot like our denial of Jewish refugees before and during World War II. Dawn Anahid MacKeen’s book The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey, taught me that our treatment of Jewish refugees mirrored the West’s unwillingness t ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Hundred-Year Walk is difficult to read, as it's never easy to read about people being cruel to each other – or even worse, dispassionately killing them or allowing them to die. It is however, an important book that reminds us that humanity is capable of such acts. It's both well-written and compelling, and highly recommended to anyone who wishes to know more about the Armenian genocide or who has an interest in stories about survival in the face of near-certain death." - Kim Kovacs, BookBro ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
The book is the account of the author’s journey, Dawn Anahid MacKeen, an American, retracing the steps of her maternal grandfather Stepan Miskjian. Stepan was an Ottoman Armenian from the small Anatolian village Adabazar (now Turkey) later deported in a death march towards “the interior”; he survived the genocide to emigrate later in life to the USA. Dawn had his grandfather’s memoirs translated and collected the testimonies of a tight group of Adabazartsi survivors living in Los Angeles.

The nar
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey (Spoiler alert) The number of times reporter and writer Dawn Anahid MacKeen’s maternal grandfather Stepan Miskjian escaped death during World War I at the hands of the Ottoman Turks is mind boggling. This is a graphic, disturbing, but ultimately redemptive account of one very resourceful man’s survival during the first genocide of the 20th century—when the ruling pashas set out to exterminate Turkey’s large ethnic Armenian population.

MacKeen alterna
Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas
Dawn Anahid Mackeen, author of this fantastic book, finds her grandfather's journal and tries to have it translated, though it is disintegrating with age. As she put it, she was "trying to follow a road that was being quickly washed away." A perfect quote from the book as it embodies the loss of that generation who experienced a terrible atrocity as well as the loss of a piece of history that is rarely taught or written about. This is a very well written depiction of Armenian genocide during Wor ...more
Vanessa Hua
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gripping book the culmination of years of her harrowing reporting that continues her grandfather's journey that began during the Armenian genocide. Beautifully told, alternately between current-day and the past, I learned so much and was deeply moved by what the author uncovered and her ultimate hope for reconciliation and peace. ...more
Capturing the historical genocide of the Armenians in Turkey around World War I, the book centers around the author’s grandfather - his early life leading up to his family and thousands of Armenian families’ deportation, being swept into internment camps, and mass slaughter and the hands of the Turkish government. The book unfolds in two timelines - back in the 1900s tracking Stepan Miskjian’s life as he is struggles to survive - experiencing capture, escape, hunger and thirst, a six-day desert ...more
4 Stars

With 2018 being the 100-year anniversary of the end of WWI, I have been trying to read more books, both fiction and nonfiction, that involve that time period. The Armenian Genocide is certainly one of the most overlooked events from that time.

In 2015, I read Orhan’s Inheritance , a historical fiction novel about the Armenian Genocide. It struck me that I had barely even heard of those tragic events, so I started researching. The sad fact is that even over a century later and despite un
Leroy Erickson
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is a personal history of the Armenian genocide as told by the grand-daughter of a survivor. It is based on yearly accounts which were written by her grandfather. The historical accounts are interwoven with a report of her trip through Turkey and Syria duplicating the trail that her grandfather took.

I have read several books about the Armenian genocide that took place between 1915 and the early 1920s. Some have been pure history; some personal accounts; some second-hand personal account
Barbara H
It puzzles me to understand why so little attention has been given to the Armenian Genocide. I have spent many years reading both novels and non-fiction studies of the Holocaust and WW II. Recently I have turned my attention to the former subject. I have come to the conclusion that Hitler was a student of this horrifying period, complete with all that conspired to erase an entire population of innocent people and their beautiful culture.

"From 1915 to 1918, an estimated 1,200,000 Armenians perish
Jane D
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so well written, draws me into the story. It's about the tragic history of suffering and overcoming adversity during the Armenian Genocide, retold tthrough a genocide survivor's granddaughter. I can picture the details in the desert, by the river, in prison.  Feel the main character Stepan's hope, his fears.

What is really striking to me, is the parallels.  The author's journey into the unknown researching and developing the story. She was on her own path "walking" with Stepan.

I wal
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads' First Reads program. In the past few years, I had read a couple of fiction works which touched briefly on the experiences of immigrants who had survived the Armenian genocide. I was struck by how the topic was largely omitted from the history books I encountered in my education, from primary school through university. This book was an intense and unflinching look at the events leading up to the genocide, and the repercussions for the survivors an ...more
Hovig Isgenian
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of on the steps of a man who survived the Armenian genocide.

This is a story to thank the kind people of the Syrian desert cities Ar-Raqqa & Deir al-Zor, who helped a large number of Armenians in the era of the WWI, taking them under their protection, & hiding them from the Turkish Gendarmes.

This is a story for not forgetting the past, & looking forward to reach a fair solution for our cause, which is making the Turkish government recognition of the Armenian genocide.
From the time she was a young child, Dawn MacKeen could remember her mother talking about Dawn’s grandfather, Stepan Miskjian, and his survival of the Armenian genocide in Turkey which began in 1915 and finally ended in 1918.

Weary of hearing these stories repeated, after college Dawn set off to pursue a successful career in journalism in New York City. She didn’t really pay much attention to her mother’s frequent phone calls asking for Dawn’s help in telling her grandfather’s story. But shortly
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A difficult, tragic book to read about the Armenian genocide in 1915-1918 in the Ottoman Empire . Her grandfather kept journals of his life story especially his survival in this tragedy . The author is his granddaughter and she translates and follows his path in Syria and Turkey. So one has a view of his struggles , the landscape, the dangers , terrors and death in the 1915 plus era and then her visit to the lands a few years ago before chaos and death, genocide returned to Syria. I had knowledg ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was book I had a hard time putting down.
On the one hand I wanted to, as reading more about the Armenian genocide, than I ever had was not easy.
But this is a redemptive book.
Mackeen has written a masterpiece on a genocide, few Americans know much about, I would imagine.
From her grandfather's journals, she vividly recounts the forced deportations of the Armenians from their homes in Asia Minor/Anatolia and their subsequent death marches.
The Hundred Year walk is more than a historical biograp
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction-read
I can't believe how ignorant I was about the Armenian genocide. This dual memoir was both eye-opening and powerful. Certainly a worthwhile read. ...more
I really wanted to like this book but ultimately I couldn't bring myself to finish it. MacKeen's prose when writing about her personal experience in 2012 was captivating and I think where her strengths lie as a journalist by trade, but her style when describing her grandfather's experiences in 1915 was dry and made it difficult to get through. I'm happy I read what I managed to read (about 3/4 of the text) because I learned so much about the details and the mechanics of the genocide, which rea ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more than I ended up actually doing. First, I didn't know much about the Armenian genocide, so no matter what, it was good to read this book to learn more about that. However--while the grandfather's story is extremely interesting and important, I don't know if the granddaughter was the right person to bring it to life. The way it's written makes it very dry, and when I've read other books about the Jewish Holocaust, I've been moved to tears. The way this was written i ...more
Janet Richards
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This important book about the Armenian Genocide is unique in that it's drawn from MacKeen's own grandfather's meticulous notes on surviving the death marches. A clever prankster before the genocide, Stepan's wits helped him avoid death many times, including a trek across the desert, naked, with no food, and only his own urine to drink. This gripping story alternates with MacKeen's 2007 journey to Turkey and Syria to retrace his 1,000-mile trek, in which she met the descendants of a Muslim Arab w ...more
I didn't know anything about this period of history in relation to the fate of the Armenian people. For that reason, I chose this book, believing a memoir would be a more personal story than a history book. Events follow two time periods - a modern day journey by a young woman - relative of the man who suffered during early 1900s. Her search is to find the places and people mentioned in a set of diaries which reveal Stephan's story. The other time period is about the events that Stephan experien ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking the Hate that some people hold in their hearts for others. I admire Dawn for her quest to walk the path her grandfather took to be free and to stay alive. He survived and escaped so many situations when he should have died. The Armenian people suffered so much it’s unimaginable. The author wrote historical facts at times and at others took kind of a straight forward approach to write the account of her grandfather from his journals. I wish she had take a little more liberty with hi ...more
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Dawn Anahid MacKeen is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly a decade on her grandfather's story. Previously, she covered health and social issues for Salon, SmartMoney, and Newsday, where her investigative series on assisted living facilities' poor care helped prompt legislative reform. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, the Sunday Times Magazine (London), the Los ...more

Articles featuring this book

Part history, part memoir, The Hundred-Year Walk chronicles MacKeen's grandfather's incredible tale of survival during the Armenian Genocide and...
45 likes · 31 comments
“The interior minister explained to the American ambassador that August why he was taking such drastic measures with the Armenians: “In the first place, they have enriched themselves at the expense of the Turks. In the second place, they are determined to domineer over us and establish a separate state,” Talaat Pasha said. “In the third place, they have openly encouraged our enemies.” 8 likes
“He’d been so hungry during the siege of Adrianople, he and the other soldiers had dug up the decaying corpse of a horse for food.” 2 likes
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