This brilliantly readable work of history tells the bizarre story of the Ottoman Empire as seen through the lives of its extravagant and tyrannical sultans. With their absolute power, their love of pomp, and their overwhelming venality and corruption, rarely has a great empire been ruled by such grotesque and awesome figures.
There was Suleiman the Magnificent, who allowed his wife to persuade him to murder his eldest son and his best friend; Murad III, who left 103 children behind him when he died; Mustafa, who was kept in a cage, attended by deaf-mutes, until he ascended to the throne. There were sultans who practiced their archery on living people; sultans who drowned the ladies of their harem by the score; and sultans who gave the reins of empire to their favorite eunuchs.
For 400 years, they fought wars, terrorized their subjects, made Turkey into a great empire, and then allowed her to decline into ostentatious and impotent decay.
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One of the indispensables for several reasons:
Anyone curious of history will discover what an alternative universe in this world can really mean.
To much to choose from.
Took awhile getting used to but turned out precisely correct.
I am history buff but was not prepared for this important missing gigantic chasm that needed redress.
This presents the consequences and development of an historic civilization as planted by Ghengis Kahn`s lineage. A real life lesson on first causes. This story does not reach into that previous so check out Dan Carlon`s wrath of the Kahn`s.
Both entertaining and informative
Definitely. The book filled in some important gaps in my knowledge of history, and was hard to put down. The Ottoman empire played an extremely important part in European history, and this book helps one to understand some essential elements: what was behind the terror that the Turks held for Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, why the empire fell apart, what the consequences were of this collapse. Come lurid details are indispensable for understanding.The almost caricatural but alas all too real excesses of the Ottoman sultans and their social-cultural support system is a good point of departure for reflecting on the importance of democracy (which sometimes seems a fallible system) and also on the role of religion in sustaining tyranny.
Yes. He is not among my favorite readers, however.
When Armenians were deliberately killed by the tens of thousands, for the flimsiest of reasons.When a particularly able general, betrayed by his sultan, was finally wounded and captured and treated with great courtesy by his captors.When Attaturk's first paramour hurries to his side upon receiving news of his divorce, only to be refused entrance, and is found dead in the street the next day with a bullet in her.
This is one of those audiobooks I could hardly put down, and I will surely listen to it again.