Dr. George W. Gawrych, professor of history at Baylor, has won the 2014 Society for Military History Award in biography and memoir for his book The Young Ataturk: From Ottoman Soldier to Statesman of Turkey (2013). He and the winners from other categories will be honored at the Society for Military History annual meeting April 4 in Kansas City.
The book is a portrait of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
“In Turkey’s War of Independence from 1919-22, Ataturk defeated the victors of World War I in their attempts to partition his country, and then founded the Republic of Turkey, a secular, Turkish nation state that emancipated women,” Gawrych said. “I chose to write this book because there was no serious military biography of this great leader, and I had the language skills to use primary Ottoman and Turkish sources.”
In researching the early career of Ataturk, Gawrych discovered strengths that would prove invaluable to the future statesman.
“My book shows Ataturk to be an excellent role model of a successful military and political career based on serious, eclectic study,” he said. “As a young captain, Ataturk even took four pages of notes from a book on Benjamin Franklin.”
Gawrych earned BA, MA and PhD degrees in history from the University of Michigan, and joined the Baylor faculty in 2003. Before coming to Baylor he taught at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College for 19 years, including one year as a visiting professor at West Point.
Gawrych specializes in the modern Middle East, the late Ottoman Empire and modern military history. His other books include The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman Rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874–1913 (2006) and The Albatross of Decisive Victory: War and Policy between Egypt and Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli Wars (2000).