Sometimes people ask me where they can read more about the history of Crimean Tatars and their struggles. I always first point them to the website of the American diaspora organization, International Committee for Crimea (iccrimea.org) which is filled with informative, well researched articles—see Resources at the bottom of the home page for a list of available documents.
|The International Committee for Crimea website|
Unfortunately, there are very few English language books about the Crimean Tatars, and with one exception, they are all academic books and not readily available or easily accessible for the average reader. However, if you do wish some in depth reading, here is a list of books that you can perhaps find in your library or order from the internet or your local bookstore.
|The haunting cover of the French edition of Lily Hyde's Dream Land.|
1. Dream Land: One girl’s struggle to find her true home by Lily Hyde (Walker Children’s Paperbacks, 2008)
This young adult novel—the only work of fiction that I know of in English that tells the story of the Crimean Tatar’s return to Crimea—seems to be well researched and does a good job of showing actual events through the eyes of a young Crimean Tatar girl.
2. The Crimean Tatars by Alan W. Fisher (Hoover Institution Press, 1978)
This is the only comprehensive history book about the Crimean Tatars and includes much information about the time of the Crimean Khanate (14th-18th centuries). It was published before the Crimean Tatars began to return to Crimea so their current history is not included in the book. However, the fact that The Crimean Tatars remains in print and is also now available in a kindle edition, attests to the continuing value of this work.
3. The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland, edited by Edward A. Allworth (Duke University Press, revised edition, 1998)
This is an update of Allworth’s original book published in 1988. It is a collection of essays by different scholars of the region—almost half of whom are Crimean Tatar—that discusses Crimean Tatar identity, politics of Crimea, life in exile, and return to their homeland. It also has a great deal of information about Ismail Gasprinskiy and his importance in Crimean Tatar history.
4. The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation by Brian Glynn Williams (Brill Academic Publishers, 2001)
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to read this volume because the library does not own a copy, but I wanted to list it as one of the very few books concerning the Crimean Tatar experience.
5. Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars’ Deportation and Return by Greta Lynn Fehling (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)
Beyond Memory is the most recent of the academic books written about the Crimean Tatars and I found it the most interesting, especially Uehling’s exploration of what kept alive the desire to return through the years of exile. It is filled with interviews by the author with Crimean Tatars directly involved in the national movement to return and the often violent protests that marked the Tatars’ return to Crimea.