This compelling book chronicles a remarkable American educational undertaking that spanned two continents and survived three wars. William McGrew recounts the challenges faced by Anatolia College’s leaders and the solutions they found to achieve their goals within the often-turbulent social, religious, and political environments of their host countries.


McGrew begins with Anatolia’s nineteenth-century Boston-based founders, who initially hoped to bring Calvinist Christianity to the diverse peoples of the Ottoman Empire and gradually shifted their emphasis to educational goals. While seeking to enrich the lives of the inhabitants of Asia Minor and beyond from the College’s campus south of the Black Sea, Protestant educators also encountered rampant ethnic strife and the loss of many students and staff. Most memorable was the pursuit on horseback across Turkey’s plains by two American women to save some fifty girls otherwise destined to perish at the hands of Turks. Renewed violence following World War I forced Anatolia to relocate from Turkey to Thessaloniki, the major city of northern Greece.


The book follows Anatolia over the subsequent decades as it embraced a society experiencing an often-violent trajectory, including the Nazi occupation followed by civil war. Nonetheless, the College succeeded in developing a spacious campus and in drawing able students from all parts of Greece through generous scholarships. Close collaboration between Greek and American educators in merging the Hellenic cultural legacy with the strongest features of American instruction enabled Anatolia to become today one of Greece’s most outstanding institutions at both the school and college levels. Its rich history provides a unique window on the American missionary movement, the Armenian genocides, the Greek-Turkish conflict, two world wars and ongoing achievements in international education through the prism of the survival and growth of an American college caught in near-perpetual upheaval.