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Birds Without Wings

I prefer military history, but I enjoy reading all sorts of genres. That said, I wouldn't have automatically been attracted to Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres (author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.) It was recommended by an old comrade and although I'm only a third of the way through it, I can see why. It's set in Turkey during the decline of the Ottoman empire and the onset of the Great War, and so far it's fascinating for the author's mastery of describing places, people, historical events and ways of life that I've not come across previously. The Independent very accurately described it as "A mesmerizing patchwork of horror, humour and humanity." It certainly provides an interesting insight into the Islamic and Christian faiths and I'm told that its coverage of the Gallipoli campaign is equally absorbing. I reckon it'll be a book to remember.
Haven't got to the Gallipoli bit yet, but I don't think it looks too closely at the big picture. You get the gist because it's told in the form of significant events in the lives of specific characters who all come from the same town in Anatolia. I'm led to believe that the way that Gallipoli comes into it is through the eyes of two young friends, one Moslem, one Christian who end up fighting there as adults. It's really well written and very different to anything else I've read.

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