One man’s daring escape from the Armenian Genocide of the Great War

In 1908, a twelve-year-old Armenian boy and his mother find themselves the only members of their family left in Turkey after the others are smuggled away to America. The two are in the city of Smyrna and watch horrified as events build toward hundreds of thousands of their fellow Armenians being caught up in the genocidal events unfolding.

By 1915, the Turkish government has ordered the elimination or deportation of all Armenians. From a nightmare dream, Souren, now nineteen, realizes that his only chance of survival is by deception of the corrupt government and military—the monster in his nightmare. As long as he remains on the monster’s back it cannot devour him. His amazing journey leads him through a series of audaciously creative deceptions and daring escapes until he finds protection as a trusted aide to a German general—for a time.

Souren Barkev Tahsjian
Souren Barkev Tahsjian

Based on the personal memoirs of Souren Barkev Tahsjian and years of conversation with the author, “On the Monster’s Back” by Robert Lamson is a stirring story of courage, devotion, wit, and survival that also illuminates the parallels between that one hundred year old tragedy in Turkey and present-day events.

Robert Lamson is an author and senior business counselor. A former defense economist, he holds a BA in economics from Yale University and a PhD in economics from the University of Washington. He has been cofounder and senior executive of several successful technology companies, and most recently is founder of Historical Accounts Repository Partners (HARP), a 501(c)(3) educational foundation. HARP is focused on bringing to light the stirring true personal stories such as in this book. His previous publication is a nonfiction work on military spending and the economy, Beyond Guns and Butter, coauthored with Glenn Pascall.

One quarter Armenian via his paternal grandmother, Lamson and his wife of 50 years live in Seattle. Together they have two daughters and five grandchildren.

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