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Publisher's Summary

By understanding the dramatic story of the Ottoman Empire - from its early years as a collection of raiders and conquerors to its undeniable power in the 15th and 16th centuries to its catastrophic collapse in the wreckage of the First World War - one can better grasp the current complexities of the Middle East.
Over the course of these 36 enlightening lectures, investigate over 600 years of history that covers the nature of Ottoman identity, the achievements of the Sultan's court, and stories of confrontation and cooperation with the West.
Befitting a story of such epic scope and grandeur, every lecture is a treasure trove of historical insights into the people, events, themes, and locales responsible for shaping the story of this often-overlooked empire. You'll cover everything from Rumi, the whirling dervishes, and the importance of the sultan's grand viziers to the wars of Sultan Suleiman I, the shadowy politics of the Committee of Union and Progress, and the birth of the Turkish Republic under Kemal Atatürk.
Welcome to a fascinating story of the triumph and tragedy, war and peace, intellectual progress and civil insurrection of a great empire that, for all its glory and grandeur, has left an important legacy that will shape the future of the Balkan nation-states, the Turkish Republic, and the Arab world - and those of us in the West as well.
©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2017 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mike R. on 08-09-17

Another A++ series from Prof. Harl!!!

I’d give it 7 of 5 stars if possible. It is superbly organized. It’s terrific to see history unfold from the Ottoman viewpoint. I think it corrects for conceptions of the modern Muslim-majority nation state that is too frequently projected into the past. The course is very helpful in thinking about the Balkans and the lead up to WW1.

I appreciate Prof. Harl most when he’s focused on Antiquity through the Middle Ages, where his style is to tell us what the literary sources say – what the archaeological record (so far) tells us – the relevant ancient anecdotes and excerpts (from Herodotus, Plutarch, Livy) that make history interesting – a few jokes of his own – and then maybe a few comments on the current “state of scholarly debate,” or where he has a bias with which other history profs may disagree.

To contrast, some very good lecturers get too bogged down in what various historical “schools of thought” say about a subject (Fagan, others). Others get too cute in trying to weave a continuous narrative and leave out too many details (Fears, Garland). A few bad apples start with a sociological point of view, and try to read that back into time by cherry picking incidents that support it (Dise).

Harl’s lectures are authentic and flow naturally, without any gimmicks. His mastery of the material is obvious. I have listened to all 11 of his courses, most more than once, and he’s simply the best. I would love to see him do a deep dive on the Iranian plateau – Persians though Seleucids, Parthians, Abbasids, etc. That has yet to be covered in detail by a lecturer of Prof. Harl’s caliber.

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Nikolas Kouvaros on 10-14-17

Some interesting parts but ...

Although there are some good parts on this and is at times an interesting story to listen to, the author takes a "bold" pro-Ottoman side in crucial humanitarian issues like the Armenian and Greek genocide. As himself states early in the book, his wife is Turkish, I am afraid this has prevented him for keeping a more neutral stand in these depressing pages of human history. Overall, a disappointing purchase.

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10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 10-26-17

Too many AAHM's and EEHM's

Instead of reading the narrator made as if he was teaching. So many pauses, hesitations and ahh's and eeh's... plus the pronunciations were mainly wrong at a level that even as a Turkish speaking person I found it hard to understand who, where and what he is talking about... other than that it was good.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By C M Pihl on 01-18-18

Extremely biased, Pro Ottoman/Turkey

Without a doubt the most biased "historian" I've ever encountered. I understand that the people researching an empire, most likely have a stake in toning down the worst qualities of said empire. I do however expect, at least a resemblance of, objectivity from your Professors, wich most of them attain. Not so i this Course, unfortunately... "Through no fault of the Ottomans" is probably the most spoken or implied sentence in this travesty.

I was looking forward to learn more about this once great empire, as I've successfully done with so many others, but this simply became an example on how NOT to act... when the Professor at times refer to the Ottomans as "we", and also tries to blame the Armenian genocide ON THE Armenians... that was the last straw of an already empty experience.

Also, the entire lecture seems a bit unordered, and can be hard to follow, due to his over enthusiasm and badly structured planning.

Hope you will be more selective in the future, but all other courses I've listened to, has been an absolute pleasure :)

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 03-14-18

Skip the Armenian genocide

I truly enjoyed it. Shame about the apology of the Arminian genocide. Apart from this is I learnt a lot.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Adam on 10-06-17

Very Educational

well constructed and thought out lecture series. Highly recommended. only complaint is that the lecturer stumbled over names. A lot.

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