Book of the Week: Twice a Stranger, The Mass Expulsions That Forged Modern Greece and Turkey by Bruce Clark


Twice a Stranger is one of the most important books ever written on the painful topic of the population exchange that took place in the 1920s between Greece and Turkey following the catastrophic events in Smyrna and beyond.

Bruce Clark, a journalist and historian, not only covers the “macro” events that emanated from the end of World War I that led to the end of the Ottoman Empire to the founding of the Turkish republic, but also goes into great detail about entire communities that were forced to flee their homes— on both sides— after generations before them lived in relative peace.

Twice a Stranger tells the paradoxical story of some 1.2 million Turkish-speaking ethnic Greeks and 400,000 Greek-speaking Ottoman Muslims, each forced to leave their native lands and resettled to the countries they “should be” living in, according to new borders and a treaty defined by other nations far far away.

Clark covers the human impact of these events in a masterful and informative way. It was the largest humanitarian crisis in the 20th century up to that time that led to the largest movement of people in history.

Foreign Affairs Magazine:
Clark treats brilliantly both the macrohistory of the war and diplomacy leading to the expulsions and the several local histories of those different communities uprooted in order to become Turks living in Turkey and Greeks living in Greece.

The Independent:
The power of Clark’s book lies not in its diplomatic history, which is concise and balanced, but in his sympathy for the communities and individuals wrenched from their real homes and dumped in alien “homelands”. He takes us to the villages of northern Greece where the Turkish-speaking Christians of Anatolia washed up; and we meet the Muslims of once-Christian Ayvalik, who still yearn for the Crete from which their grandfathers were expelled. Their narratives are woven through a book that moves seamlessly from the great halls of Lausanne to the barracks of Constantinople, made a charnel house by the disease and chaos of a fleeing multitude.

Get the book here: Twice a Stranger by Bruce Clark

PS: I get all of my books on Amazon. You can even find used copies of books like Twice a Stranger for as low as a few dollars. I’ve even joined something called Amazon Prime which gets me free two-day shipping on everything I buy. I don’t know how on earth they make money off of this feature but I’ve taken advantage of it and saved thousands of dollars in shipping— not only books, but my dog food and just about everything else I’m too lazy to carry home from the grocery store.

They give you a free month, then it costs $99 a year but the annual fee offsets the amount of shipping I save by hundreds of dollars. Here’s a link to try it out for yourself. (Tell them I sent you— just kidding)


Leave A Reply