In Eternal Dawn: Turkey in the Age of Atatürk¸ Ryan Gingeras deals with the origins of modern Turkey and its founder, Atatürk. Studies of this subject have never been scarce in the literature. Unlike most of the previous works in the literature, Gingeras argues that the image of Atatürk and his reforms lose their magnificence when you take a closer look at his era. The author claims that the reforms and developments of Atatürk’s regime have been over-glorified and that the realities of the re-establishment of the Turkish Republic are not congruent with the triumphant rhetoric surrounding it. In Eternal Dawn, Gingeras promises readers a different approach with his sharp, objective perspective. He points out that other published works on this topic tend to overlook the different social groups of Anatolia in the grand scheme of events. Gingeras claims that his focus is not solely on Atatürk and his reforms, but also on how these groups reacted to the changes Atatürk introduced.
The first chapter takes the story back to the foundation of the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti, CUP) and the road to the 1908 Revolution. Similar to most works dealing with modern Turkey, Gingeras begins his work with the last decades of the Ottoman Empire. Since Atatürk and other important figures of modern Turkey had been affected by the final years of the Empire, Gingeras argues that one should take the origins and ideology of the Young Turks into account. In this chapter, Gingeras also evaluates CUP’s leadership’s views on Atatürk’s rise to power in Ankara and the position the CUP assumed during the National Struggle, a subject long debated among scholars. Gingeras argues that while Ankara and the exiled CUP leaders kept somewhat in touch during the National Struggle, by