Book review: Assyrians flourish following collapse of ancient empire

“Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh: A 2,624 Years Journey” (2013) by William Warda

This review was written by Jessi Arabou from the Assyrian Cultural and Social Youth Association (ACSYA) based in Sydney, Australia. Keep up with ACSYA cultural preservation and awareness projects here: ACSYA

Researching online articles, literature or history books at your local library about the Assyrian people post ancient empire consistently stopped at the sacking of the capital city, Nineveh, at 609 B.C. Only sporadic references accounting for the existence of the Assyrians could be found. Author William Warda, in his novel, “Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh: A 2,624 Years Journey,” presents a case for the continuation of the Assyrian people that survived the empire’s decline and flourished under subsequent empires.

The book not only presents evidence of continuity but also delves into cultural and inherit ancient traditions that were carried on by the custodians of the land while under subsequent classifications as vassal states and semi-independent kingdoms. The presence of culture intertwined with the Assyrian identity are the main precursors and are presented as salient identifiers.

Warda uses a plethora of references and sources to augment the case for continuity. While there are minor reflections on the lay out, presentation and a small number of references (which have not stood the test of scrutiny), the overwhelming vast catalogue of information is more than enough to dissect and use.

*Following the writing of this review, there has been an overall increase of resources available which shed further light for the case of continuity following the collapse of the ancient empire. Viewers of the recent documentary “Assyria A.D.” can take solace in that this book lays the groundwork for the inevitable conclusion and that they will also find shades of the movie laced throughout the book.

Where to purchase: Amazon

About the author: William M. Warda is an Assyrian writer and community activist. Born in Iran in 1941, Warda told the Los Angeles Times he was a 4-year-old boy in Urmia in 1946 when he saw his village plundered, his father shot through the head and his 6-month-old sister bayoneted by Turks. He was prevented from burying his father’s corpse. Arriving in the United States in the 1960s, Warda wrote dozens of article about Assyrian history. He served as the president of the Assyrian American Association of Southern California from 2006-2010. He later joined the organization’s board of directors. Warda passed away last month.

About ACSYA: The Assyrian Cultural & Social Youth Association is an independent non-profit organization headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Established in 2014, the organization strives to revive the Assyrian culture through field trips, exhibitions, workshops and training sessions.

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