The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (click images to enlarge)

The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Description of The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey from Houghton...

“The Hundred-Year Walk” is a compelling book that chronicles the harrowing experiences of the author’s grandfather during the genocide. Stepan Miskjian was a young man from the town of Adabazar (now Adapazari), located in northwestern Turkey. Although not well educated, he was nevertheless a successful small entrepreneur with extremely close ties to his family. Miraculously, through personal guile, artful manipulation and sheer luck, Miskjian defied the overwhelming odds and survived the death marches that he and his fellow Armenians endured. Fortunately, he had an extraordinary memory and an amazing capacity (and will) to record all the horrific things that happened to him and his fellow Armenians. That included, among other things, the names of many of the other deportees, the names of some of his tormentors, and the names of the towns that the victims were forced to pass through, in most cases, on the way to their deaths. He compiled these recollections into six carefully written journals about his life before, during and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. These journals are the foundation for this remarkable book, part personal memoir and part travel reportage.

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Manufacturer Description

An epic tale of one man’s courage in the face of genocide and his granddaughter’s quest to tell his story

In the heart of the Ottoman Empire as World War I rages, Stepan Miskjian’s world becomes undone. He is separated from his family as they are swept up in the government’s mass deportation of Armenians into internment camps. Gradually realizing the unthinkable—that they are all being driven to their deaths—he fights, through starvation and thirst, not to lose hope. Just before killing squads slaughter his caravan during a forced desert march, Stepan manages to escape, making a perilous six-day trek to the Euphrates River carrying nothing more than two cups of water and one gold coin. In his desperate bid for survival, Stepan dons disguises, outmaneuvers gendarmes, and, when he least expects it, encounters the miraculous kindness of strangers.

The Hundred-Year Walk alternates between Stepan’s saga and another journey that takes place a century later, after his family discovers his long-lost journals. Reading this rare firsthand account, his granddaughter Dawn MacKeen finds herself first drawn into the colorful bazaars before the war and then into the horrors Stepan later endured. Inspired to retrace his steps, she sets out alone to Turkey and Syria, shadowing her resourceful, resilient grandfather across a landscape still rife with tension. With his journals guiding her, she grows ever closer to the man she barely knew as a child. Their shared story is a testament to family, to home, and to the power of the human spirit to transcend the barriers of religion, ethnicity, and even time itself.