This book is primarily a history of the early Kurdish movement, from its inception in the late nineteenth century to the 1930s. Yet, its distinctiveness comes not from the Kurdish nationalists’ more publicized products, but from its focus on the margins of their literary attempts. This study of failed nationalism “is concerned less with how and why Kurdish nationalism did or did not ‘catch on’ than with the efforts made by [the] Kurdish elite to construct a viable concept of Kurdish identity” (p. 1). In other words, the author’s
main concern is to identify how images of the Kurds were constructed and represented, and how they evolved, over time, until the late 1930s.