3 out of 4 stars
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I am not sure how many people there are that are aware of what the tiny island of Cyprus has gone through over the last 50 plus years. In Cyprus: The Other Divided Island, Dermot Whelan systematically walks us through these dynamic events. In the early part of the 20th century, Cyprus was populated by Greeks, but was controlled by the British. The people of the island wanted to be independent of this rule and some even looked to become a part of Greece to accomplish this end. But as we see as time and the book progresses, the British were not the biggest concern that the Cypriots would face in this struggle.
As stated above, there were divisions amongst the people of Cyprus already about whether to become an independent country or to be absorbed into Greece as a whole. This in effect caused friction between the Cypriots themselves which made it difficult to get together in a unified front. As this was going on, a threat from Turkey began to come into play as well. They had designs on the island for their own use and even occupation. Another major player in the fate of Cyprus was the United States who used both public and covert influence to try to shape the final disposition of the island. As Cyprus is pulled upon by so many internal as well as external forces, the only question is where exactly will it all shake down in the end?
Mr. Whelan’s telling of these true events is done in a very straightforward and methodical way. He gives the reader the important events and key players that had a direct hand in the life and happenings on Cyprus. The intrigue is sometimes hard to keep up with as allegiances seem to shift with the wind as greed and personal agendas keep cropping up amongst the important individuals on and surrounding Cyprus. But overall, the story is told in a clear manner that limits the possibility of getting lost in what is going on.
I really liked the in-depth way that the author took in the telling of this interesting chapter in history. He really did a good job of putting a great amount of information in each chapter of the book. I definitely learned a great deal more than I had ever known about Cyprus before I read this well-researched account of the goings on in “the other divided island.”
One thing that I did not really like is how at times the author appeared to really lose detachment from the story and seemed to put his personal feelings into the narrative. It just felt like it became a political commentary sometimes instead of a book about the events that ultimately shaped the island into what it is today.
There also was a quote in the book that had a strong curse word. Other than that, it was without any bad language or noticeable errors.
In the end, I give this book a solid 3 out of 4 stars. There are two ways that I judge a nonfiction book to determine if it is a good one or not once I finish reading it. The first is if I feel satisfied and somewhat complete with my knowledge of what the book was about. The second is if I have a desire to research beyond the details that the book gave me to get even more of the story. This book falls into the second category. That doesn’t make it a bad book by any means, it just is one that made me hungry to learn even more about Cyprus and its people. I have to say that that is the sign of a good book.
Cyprus:The Other Divided Island
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