Cover image for Armenia : portraits of survival and hope
Armenia : portraits of survival and hope
Miller, Donald E. (Donald Earl), 1946-
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 197 pages, 40 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, 1 map ; 24 cm
Massive destruction : the 1988 earthquake -- Random violence : pogroms in Azerbaijan -- Fighting for survival : the war of independence in Nagorno-Karabakh -- Surviving the winter : paying the price for independence -- We live with hope : reflections on conditions in Armenia -- Concluding reflections : the meaning of being human -- Ten years after independence.
Reading Level:
1080 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK687 .M59 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A remarkable view of how geopolitics affects ordinary people, this book documents, in words and pictures, the lives of Armenians in the last two decades. Based on intimate interviews with three hundred Armenians and featuring Jerry Berndt's superb photographs, it brings together firsthand testimony about the social, economic, and spiritual circumstances of Armenians during the 1980s and 1990s, when the country faced an earthquake, pogroms, and war. At times shocking and deeply emotional, Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope is a story of extreme suffering and hardship, a searching look at the fight for independence, and an exceptionally complex portrait of the human spirit.

A companion to the Millers' highly acclaimed work Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide, which documented the genocide of 1915, this book focuses on four groups of people: survivors of the earthquakes that devastated northwestern Armenia in 1988; refugees from Azerbaijan who fled Baku and Sumgait because of pogroms against them; women, children, and soldiers who were affected by the war in Nagorno-Karabakh; and ordinary citizens who survived several winters without heat because of the blockade against Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan. The Millers' narrative situates these accounts contextually and thematically, but the voices of individuals remain paramount. The Millers also describe their personal experiences in repeated research trips, inviting us to look beyond the headlines and think beyond the circumstances of our own lives as they bring contemporary Armenia to life.

Author Notes

Donald E. Miller is Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California and author of Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millennium (California, 1997) and The Case for Liberal Christianity (1981), among other books. Lorna Touryan Miller is Director of the Office for Creative Connections at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. The Millers coauthored Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide (California, 1993). Jerry Berndt has taught photography at the Art Institute of Boston and the University of Massachusetts. He recieved a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1987, and work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

For many centuries, Armenians have waged a long and bitter struggle for survival and national independence. The last century was the most traumatic in their history, when the Turkish government slaughtered more than a million Armenians and evicted them from their ancestral homeland in eastern Anatolia. This interesting sociological study based on extensive interviews in 1993-94 deals with the events in Armenia in the 1980s and after: the massive earthquake in 1988, Armenia's declaration of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the war for independence from Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azeri pogroms against Armenians in Sumgait and Baku, and the mass emigration from Armenia. In their assessment of Armenia's future prospects, the Millers note a "spiritual renaissance," the manifold difficulties of the transition from a centralized to a market economy, and shedding the evils of the communist past. Although one would like to share the hopes of the authors, who observe "bright spots," their picture of Armenia is not particularly promising. Thanks, however, to the generosity of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and other philanthropical organizations, as well as substantial diaspora financial support, Armenia will survive. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels and libraries. V. D. Barooshian Wells College

Table of Contents

1 Massive Destruction The 1988 Earthquake
2 Random Violence Pogroms in Azerbaijan
3 Fighting for Survival The War of Independence in Nagorno-Karabakh
4 Surviving the Winter Paying the Price for Independence
5 "We Live with Hope" Reflections on Conditions in Armenia
6 Concluding Reflections The Meaning of Being Human Epilogue Ten Years after Independence
Appendix 1 Research Methodology
Appendix 2 Interview Guide
Appendix 3 List of Interviewees