Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To use the Information icon…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The Information icon  (an i in a circle) will give you valuable information about PEP Web data and features. You can find it besides a PEP Web feature and the author’s name in every journal article. Simply move the mouse pointer over the icon and click on it for the information to appear.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Perdigão, H.G. (1986). The Immortal Atatürk. A Psychobiography: By Vamik D. Volkan and Norman Itzkowitz. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1984. 374 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 55:681-688.

Welcome to PEP Web!

Viewing the full text of this document requires a subscription to PEP Web.

If you are coming in from a university from a registered IP address or secure referral page you should not need to log in. Contact your university librarian in the event of problems.

If you have a personal subscription on your own account or through a Society or Institute please put your username and password in the box below. Any difficulties should be reported to your group administrator.


Can't remember your username and/or password? If you have forgotten your username and/or password please click here and log in to the PaDS database. Once there you need to fill in your email address (this must be the email address that PEP has on record for you) and click "Send." Your username and password will be sent to this email address within a few minutes. If this does not work for you please contact your group organizer.

OpenAthens or federation user? Login here.

Not already a subscriber? Order a subscription today.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:681-688

The Immortal Atatürk. A Psychobiography: By Vamik D. Volkan and Norman Itzkowitz. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1984. 374 pp.

Review by:
H. Gunther Perdigão

History and psychoanalysis have certain affinities. Both disciplines study human thoughts, actions, and motives, sharing the difficulties inherent in retrospective studies. Both examine a multiplicity of possible explanations, and each historian and psychoanalyst emphasizes different causal connections. The epistemological problem is similar in both fields. The historian attempts to recreate objective reality and the psychoanalyst to recreate psychological reality.

The Immortal Atatürk, the result of a collaboration between a historian and a psychoanalyst, blends the Turkish historical milieu with a wealth of information about the psychological life of an outstanding man of the twentieth century, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The book covers much new ground, resulting from extensive interviews with those who had first-hand contact with Atatürk and with the formation of the new government in Ankara and the last gasps of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. It abounds in detail about Turkey, although, as will be discussed later, it ignores the Turkish massacre of the Armenians. This study is unabashedly pro-Turkish.

Atatürk was a charismatic leader who transformed the "sick man of Europe," as the Ottoman Empire had been called, into a peaceful nation with secure borders. In only twenty years, Atatürk changed Turkey from a corrupt, feudal theocracy with archaic Islamic laws into a Westernized, secular republic. With remarkably little reactionary backlash, Atatürk rewove the whole fabric of the Turkish nation, dismantled the Ottoman Empire, and brought about Western reforms. Completely new legal codes were fashioned after Western standards. Under his leadership, traditional Moslem headgear was abandoned, the numbering system was made to conform to that of the West, the Latin alphabet was introduced, the metric system was adopted, the Koran was translated into Turkish, and surnames became mandatory.


1 From his birth until adolescence, Atatürk had, according to Turkish custom, only one name, Mustafa. Later, "Kemal" ("the perfect one") was added to his name and still later, "Atatürk" ("father of the Turkish nation"). For simplicity this review will refer to him only as "Atatürk."

- 681 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2017, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.