In the preface of this remarkable book, Prof. Khachig Tololyan writes:
“Hagop Barsoumian disappeared (he was kidnapped on 31 January 1986 and in all probability murdered at an unknown date) before he could revise this work for publication. The text of this work is essentially that of his PhD dissertation for Columbia University, researched and written in the late 1970s under the direction of Professor Nina Garsoian. At the time of its completion around 1979 it was, as it remains now, the most thorough study of the Armenian amiras of the Ottoman empire.
Emerging in the early eighteenth century, the amiras dominated the communal life of Ottoman Armenians for more than a century, roughly 1750-1857, before losing their status and power. Barsoumian offers an analytical narrative that tells of the emergence, dominance and eventual disappearance of this elite group, which may arguably be called the internal “ruling class” of the Ottoman Armenian community during the period.”