SEATTLE, April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide approaches, a new book sheds light on the distressing daily realities faced by those who lived through it, while celebrating the spirit of survival. "On the Monster's Back" is the true-life tale of Souren Barkev Tashjian, a very clever and very lucky Armenian boy who witnesses modern history's first 'official' genocide, plots a harrowing escape from it, and eventually leads a long productive life as an American physician.
The book is authored by Robert D. Lamson of Seattle, and is based on the personal memoirs of his late great-uncle Souren. Drawing from Souren's personal diary and years of conversation over fishing trips and family time, Mr. Lamson pieces together an epic saga of heroism, love and survival. Immediately drawing in readers, the book's protagonist spins his way through one hair's breadth escape after another during four years of war and genocide, escaping the conflict area by rowboat only to face additional horrors.
A timely publication, April 24, 2015 marks the centennial of the start of the Armenian Genocide, in which leaders of the Turkish government are accused of widespread massacres and forced deportations against Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire.
"I wrote this book not only in honor of my great-uncle Souren Tashjian, but also as a mark of sympathy and respect for the millions of Armenians who met their untimely deaths or suffered other terrible consequences in Turkey during World War I and its aftermath," commented Lamson. "This story would not exist but for the strength of character and dedication of Souren to actually write down his experience. It took over 40 years of persistent, piecemeal, and at times painful effort because of the traumas he had to relive in committing his experience to paper. In our discussion, at times tears would fill his eyes, and periodically there were long, silent pauses."
The book begins in 1908, where a 12-year-old Souren and his mother find themselves the only members of their family left in Turkey after the others are smuggled away to America. Living in Smyrna, the two watch horrified as hundreds of thousands of their fellow Armenians are caught up in the genocidal events which unfold. By 1915, the Turkish government has ordered the elimination or deportation of all Armenians.
Awakening from a literal nightmare, Souren, now 19, realizes his only chance of survival is by deception of the corrupt government and military – the "monster" depicted in his foreshadowing dream. His journey leads him through a series of deceptions and escapes until he finds protection as a trusted aide to a German general – for a time – and even as he is carrying out his last deception, dares to fall in love.
"On the Monster's Back" is a must-read for those interested in learning the tragic truth of the Armenian Genocide through the eyes of an intrepid survivor and how that historical event set a stage for the Holocaust of WWII and events still unfolding today.
"On The Monster's Back" is available for purchase in select bookstores and on Amazon.com (Kindle - $17.95; Paperback - $24.95), and is published by the Historical Accounts Repository Partners educational foundation. For more information visit historicalaccounts.org.
About The Author
Robert Lamson is an author and senior business counselor. A former defense economist, he holds a BA in economics from Yale University and a PhD in economics from the University of Washington. He has held the role of cofounder and senior executive at several successful technology companies, and most recently founded Historical Accounts Repository Partners (HARP), a 501 (c)(3) educational foundation. His previous book is a work on military spending and the economy, "Beyond Guns and Butter", coauthored with Glenn Pascall. One-quarter Armenian via his paternal grandmother, he and his wife of 50 years live in Seattle. Together they have two daughters and five grandchildren. Photos of Robert Lamson and the book's cover available on request.
Editor's Note: Author Robert Lamson is available for interview to discuss his own family's experience with the Armenian Genocide and the creation of this book; historical researcher Rosemary Russell, who contributed to the book, is available to discuss the historical events of WWI-era Turkey.
SOURCE Robert Lamson