A Land of Aching Hearts is an absorbing, insightful account of life during World War I in the Middle East. The book’s first chapter gives an introduction to the enormous changes experienced by the Ottoman peoples during the nineteenth century. The second chapter presents an astute chronological overview of the war’s most important military and political events, beginning with the German–Ottoman alliance and the Ottoman Empire’s decision to enter the war in 1914. The subsequent chapters break new methodological ground, offering empire-wide perspectives on understudied but crucial aspects of the war—civilian plight and blight, soldiers’ everyday lives, smuggling, entertainment, prostitution, the lack of communication between the front and the home front, intelligence gathering and spying, and instances of torture. Although the book’s geographical emphasis tends to drift toward Syria, Fawaz provides much analysis of events in Anatolia, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and, to a lesser extent, beyond the Ottoman...

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