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The Gentle American

George Horton’s Odyssey and His True Account of the Smyrna Catastrophe


How many lives can one man save? Never enough, Horton realized. As his ship backed away from Smyrna’s wharf, he could better see the helpless, teeming crowd on the waterfront trapped between the sea and a raging inferno. He was not consoled by rescuing his shipload of refugees, nor by the many other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim lives he had saved during his service as American consul. His focus was on the people before him threatened with fire, rape, and massacre. Their persecution, he later said, made him ashamed he “belonged to the human race.” Helping them would not be easy, however. His superiors were blocking humanitarian aid and covering up atrocities with fake news and disinformation to win Turkish approval for American access to oil. When Horton decried their duplicity and hard-heartedness, they conspired to destroy his reputation. Undaunted, Horton pursued his cause until it went to the President and then Congress for decisions that would set the course for America’s emergence as a world power. At stake was the outcome of WWI, the stability and liberality of the Middle East, and the likelihood of more genocide.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4449-1
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Aug 9,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 7 x 10
Page Count: 560
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4449-1
$60.00

How many lives can one man save? Never enough, Horton realized. As his ship backed away from Smyrna’s wharf, he could better see the helpless, teeming crowd on the waterfront trapped between the sea and a raging inferno. He was not consoled by rescuing his shipload of refugees, nor by the many other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim lives he had saved during his service as American consul. His focus was on the people before him threatened with fire, rape, and massacre. Their persecution, he later said, made him ashamed he “belonged to the human race.” Helping them would not be easy, however. His superiors were blocking humanitarian aid and covering up atrocities with fake news and disinformation to win Turkish approval for American access to oil. When Horton decried their duplicity and hard-heartedness, they conspired to destroy his reputation. Undaunted, Horton pursued his cause until it went to the President and then Congress for resolution. At stake was the outcome of WWI, the stability and liberality of the Middle East, and the likelihood of more genocide.

This bold reinterpretation of the life of humanist and diplomat George Horton explores an enduring question. What are the true costs of devotion to human rights, morality, and honesty in American foreign policy when those in power subvert such values…?  Horton’s story compels us all to ponder: Is maintaining one’s honor, as he did, ultimately what makes life worth living?

-- Dr. David K. Allison, Curator Emeritus, National Museum of American History

A fascinating and important account that not only tells the remarkable story of the US diplomat George Horton but also that of the tumultuous [Near East] before, during and after the devastation of Smyrna in the 1920s. A remarkable book.

-- Dr. Peter Frankopan, Oxford University Professor of Global History and best-selling author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

[The authors] tell a compelling story of international diplomacy and bureaucratic double-dealing. Their thoroughly researched and clearly written account illuminates aspects of World War I, the emergence of modern Turkey and the Middle East, and the connection of those events to the rise of national socialism in Germany.

-- Dr. David Tucker, Ashbrook Center Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Master of Arts in American History and Government at Ashland University.

How many lives can one man save? Never enough, Horton realized. As his ship backed away from Smyrna’s wharf, he could better see the helpless, teeming crowd on the waterfront trapped between the sea and a raging inferno. He was not consoled by rescuing his shipload of refugees, nor by the many other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim lives he had saved during his service as American consul. His focus was on the people before him threatened with fire, rape, and massacre. Their persecution, he later said, made him ashamed he “belonged to the human race.” Helping them would not be easy, however. His superiors were blocking humanitarian aid and covering up atrocities with fake news and disinformation to win Turkish approval for American access to oil. When Horton decried their duplicity and hard-heartedness, they conspired to destroy his reputation. Undaunted, Horton pursued his cause until it went to the President and then Congress for resolution. At stake was the outcome of WWI, the stability and liberality of the Middle East, and the likelihood of more genocide.

This bold reinterpretation of the life of humanist and diplomat George Horton explores an enduring question. What are the true costs of devotion to human rights, morality, and honesty in American foreign policy when those in power subvert such values…?  Horton’s story compels us all to ponder: Is maintaining one’s honor, as he did, ultimately what makes life worth living?

-- Dr. David K. Allison, Curator Emeritus, National Museum of American History

A fascinating and important account that not only tells the remarkable story of the US diplomat George Horton but also that of the tumultuous [Near East] before, during and after the devastation of Smyrna in the 1920s. A remarkable book.

-- Dr. Peter Frankopan, Oxford University Professor of Global History and best-selling author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

[The authors] tell a compelling story of international diplomacy and bureaucratic double-dealing. Their thoroughly researched and clearly written account illuminates aspects of World War I, the emergence of modern Turkey and the Middle East, and the connection of those events to the rise of national socialism in Germany.

-- Dr. David Tucker, Ashbrook Center Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Master of Arts in American History and Government at Ashland University.

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ContributorBiography

Ismini Lamb

Ismini Lamb is the Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at Georgetown University where she has taught Greek language, history, and culture for more than 30 years. Her research and courses also address social and humanitarian issues, including the recent refugee crises. For the past nine years, she has labored as the authorized biographer of George Horton. She speaks frequently on diverse issues including Horton’s historic legacy. She is a former C.S. Lewis fellow, Doyle Fellow, and has held multiple leadership positions in civic organizations.

Christopher Lamb

Christopher Lamb has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense responsible for war plans and defense resource planning, the Director of the Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University, the study director for the Project on National Security Reform, and a Foreign Service Officer. He has published numerous books and articles. His recent book, The Mayaguez Crisis, Mission Command and Civil-Military Relations, won the Edwin Simmons–Henry I. Shaw Award for superior historical scholarship.

Epigraph ................................................................................................................. v
List of Illustrations ............................................................................................... vii
Preface .................................................................................................................. xv
Key Figures in the Biography .............................................................................. xix
Abbreviations and Foreign (or Antiquated) Terms ............................................. xxi
Towns Mentioned in the Biography (1922 and today) ..................................... xxiii
Prologue: The Saddest Man in Smyrna .................................................................. 1
Chapter One: Smyrna, The Mecca of His Ambitions ............................................ 17
Chapter Two: The Great War Comes to Smyrna .................................................. 51
Chapter Three: George, Germans, and Genocide ................................................. 79
Chapter Four: On the Frontlines in Salonica...................................................... 109
Chapter Five: The Real King of Smyrna ............................................................. 143
Chapter Six: The War of Words with Bristol ...................................................... 167
Chapter Seven: “Normalcy” During Crisis ......................................................... 193
Chapter Eight: Prelude to Catastrophe............................................................... 223
Chapter Nine: Smyrna’s Demise, The Greeks Leave .......................................... 253
Chapter Ten: Smyrna’s Demise, The Turks Arrive ............................................. 277
Chapter Eleven: Remonstration in Athens ......................................................... 309
Chapter Twelve: Revelation in Washington ....................................................... 335
Chapter Thirteen: The Vote ................................................................................ 365
Epilogue: A Life Worth Living ............................................................................ 397
Acknowledgements ............................................................................................ 419
Selected Bibliography: George Horton Biography ............................................. 423
Notes .................................................................................................................. 439
Index................................................................................................................... 509

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