(United States) – American publisher Harper Collins released the paperback edition of Lou Ureneck’s Book, originally titled, “The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide.” The new paperback edition, Smyrna, September 22 – The American Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s Genocide, is now available in stores and online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Lou Ureneck has extensively researched the role the Americans played in the Smyrna crisis that took place in Asia Minor (now Turkey) that resulted in the loss of life of nearly 2 million Greeks, while countless others managed to flee the country to safety in Greece and other parts of the world. Several of these refugees moved on to the United States to start new lives, though many of their stories have been lost in the generations.
September 22 is a significant date because that is the day that Smyrna, the richest city in the Mediterranean, was burned, an act that killed a large number of Christians. This significant event was just one of many moments during the 20th Centuries first genocide, which resulted in the killing around 3 million Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians, by the Ottoman Empire. However, until an American minister named Asa Kent Jennings convinced an United States Naval Officer to help, little was done by allies to rescue the oppressed people of the city. It was through their combined efforts that around 250,000 people were rescued from the burning city. Ureneck’s book talks about all aspects of this fateful day, including the backstory and the efforts by the minister and naval officer to rescue as many people as they possibly could.
Lou Ureneck is a Professor of Journalism at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. Besides writing about the Great Fire in Smyrna in 1922, he’s also written about other topics. Cabin: Two Brothers, a Dream, and Five Acres in Maine, is an autobiographical account of Ureneck’s experiences in Maine. Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska is another autobiographical account that focuses on Ureneck’s quest to rebuild his relationship with his son after divorce. Backcast won the National Outdoor Book Award in 2007.