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The Young Atatürk: From Ottoman Soldier to Statesman of Turkey

In The Young Atatürk, George Gawrych examines the intellectual development of Mustafa Kemal as a soldier, and looks at how he applied what he had learned about soldiering to the problems of statesmanship. He traces Mustafa Kemal’s intellectual development primarily through his own writings. With access to Atatürk’s personal notebooks, in addition to his published writings, as well as drawing on a vast array of other primary sources and secondary literature, Gawrych is able to follow the ideas Mustafa Kemal was exposed to in his classes and in his personal readings, and see which of those ideas are adopted and expanded upon. Rather than a biography of Atatürk, this is an examination of his characteristics as a leader, explicated through his intellectual journey. Gawrych focuses on three concepts, which he argues were central to Atatürk’s philosophy of life and of leadership: “his, dimağ, and vicdan”, which he translates as feeling/sentiment, mind (cognitive activities), and conscience (pp. xii-xiii). Previous analyses of Atatürk’s leadership, he argues, have focused almost exclusively on the intellectual component, which is too narrow to explain Atatürk’s successes.

 

In The Young Atatürk, George Gawrych examines the intellectual development of Mustafa Kemal as a soldier, and looks at how he applied what he had learned about soldiering to the problems of statesmanship. He traces Mustafa Kemal’s intellectual development primarily through his own writings. With access to Atatürk’s personal notebooks, in addition to his published writings, as well as drawing on a vast array of other primary sources and secondary literature, Gawrych is able to follow the ideas Mustafa Kemal was exposed to in his classes and in his personal readings, and see which of those ideas are adopted and expanded upon. Rather than a biography of Atatürk, this is an examination of his characteristics as a leader, explicated through his intellectual journey. Gawrych focuses on three concepts, which he argues were central to Atatürk’s philosophy of life and of leadership: “his, dimağ, and vicdan”, which he translates as feeling/sentiment, mind (cognitive activities), and conscience (pp. xii-xiii). Previous analyses of Atatürk’s leadership, he argues, have focused almost exclusively on the intellectual component, which is too narrow to explain Atatürk’s successes.

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