The Way It Turned Out
by Herant Katchadourian (Stanford University, USA)
Hardback 478 pages 2012-08-31 Print ISBN: 9789814364751 eBook ISBN: 9789814364768 DOI: 10.4032/9789814364768
List price : $34.95
“I was irresistibly sucked into this narrative as soon as I read the first page. The magic alchemy of a childhood in a faraway continent, of family dynamics and rituals that are at once foreign and yet familiar, and the wise, knowing voice of a memoirist looking back on a rich life make for a wonderful read. The breadth of Katchadourian’s expertise as a humanist, physician, scholar, and lover of words makes this volume a gem that informs, entertains, and ultimately delights.”
Abraham Verghese - Author of Cutting for Stone
“I have read many memoirs in a long career but never one of higher quality and personal value than this one. Herant Katchadourian is an authentic citizen of the world, having been exposed to the cultures of Armenia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Finland and the United States—where he spent most of his life. His observations are highly perceptive, and in his professional life he is extraordinarily interdisciplinary—having contributed significantly to human biology, clinical medicine, psychiatry university administration, and philanthropy. He fostered valuable innovations and was a pioneer in the scholarly teaching of human sexuality, reflected both in a great course and the field’s leading textbook. In all of his experiences, he has been a superb teacher and he has much to teach us now as he looks back over the broad and unique sweep of his life in a beautifully written book.”
David A. Hamburg - President Emeritus, Carnegie Corporation of New York
“A distinguished psychiatrist and educator, Herant Katchadourian has produced a memoir that readers will have difficulty putting down because of its profound psychological and cultural insights into the human condition. The Way It Turned Out tells the story of a talented and passionate Armenian born in what was then northwestern Syria and medically trained at the American University of Beirut, where he would later teach, after gaining advanced medical training in the USA. Eventually he would enjoy a four-decade career as a renowned teacher and senior administrator at Stanford University, followed by a stint in the world of philanthropy. Few can claim to have lived such an interesting life between East and West and to have brought such vital understanding to both.”
Philip S. Khoury - Ford International Professor of History and Associate Provost, MIT
“Beautifully written, alluring in its imagery, compelling in its personal depth, this is a memoir in the tradition of Augustine’s journals: profoundly honest and revealing in its author's exaltations and failings, universal in its aspiration to a life of meaning, and astonishingly helpful to its readers with less engaged and engaging lives.”
Scotty McLennan - Dean for Religious Life, Memorial Church, Stanford University
Herant Katchadourian was a teacher and administrator whose career spanned seven decades and three continents. "The Way It Turned Out: A Memoir" is his 478 page autobiography in which he lays out the fascinating story of his personal and professional life. From his teen years in the city of Beirut, to his adult experiences in the culture of northern California, his life story is narrated with candor and detail. Of special note are his philosophical reflections while staying on a remote island in the Baltic Sea. Superbly presented and highly recommended reading.
Susan Bethany - Midwest Book Review
“Celebrity tell-alls are . . . often kangaroo courts against critics. There are mesmerizing exceptions, however, like Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, where literary merit and brilliant observations outweigh nearly any deficiencies or idiosyncratic selective memory. Herant Katchadourian’s The Way it Turned Out (Pan Stanford, 2012) is in the delightful latter category, much like Proust replete with an amazing facility of sensory detail and customs, some exotic, others amusing but always compelling. This is a literary odyssey from Iskenderun to Beirut to America as the saga of an Armenian savant who provides a tremendous legacy and remembers so much of an age rapidly passing from the fading Ottoman and post-colonial Near East. Personal stories and anecdotes intermingle with family and village history, wars, displacements, migrations and the changing faces of Anatolia and the Levant. . . . Most of us would be satisfied with even a modest sampling of one of Katchadourian’s accomplishments, and while he is aware of his impact in several countries, his modesty and honesty are endearing. This memoir is so worth the read, a page turner, and will reward any reader with its vast personal knowledge about the Middle East, full of intelligence, wit and wryness. Would that every memoir was so thoughtful and believable.”
P. F. Sommerfeldt - Electrum Magazine
Herant Katchadourian’s extraordinary life as a distinguished teacher and administrator has spanned seven decades lived on three continents. In this memoir, Katchadourian masterfully narrates his story from start to finish, bridging his childhood in the fascinating, complex city of Beirut to his later life in the culture of northern California. He calls on his expert knowledge of history to contextualize personal events in his life and brings his training as a psychiatrist to focus on timeless questions such as the role of chance in life and the reconstruction of past events in the light of the present.
A gifted teacher who was nominated seven times as Outstanding Professor and Class Day Speaker during his long career at Stanford University, Katchadourian revels in the joys of storytelling. His talent for pedagogy and his gift for the well-crafted anecdote infuse the book with the breadth of cultural dimensions and the depth of psychological insights. This immensely readable and instructive memoir takes the reader through the unlikely, moving, and often hilarious turns in Katchadourian’s life, showing how The Way it Turned Out is hardly the way anyone would have guessed it to be.
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