- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Picador USA; First edition (1 January 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312420668
- ISBN-13: 978-0312420666
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
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Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire Paperback – 1 Jan 2003
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"A work of dazzling beauty...the rare coming together of historical scholarship and curiosity about distant places with luminous writing." --The New York Times Book Review
"A meditation on a vanished world that hovers like an apparition over today's grim headlines." --The New York Times Book Review
"Jason Goodwin's deftly written and beguiling history of the Ottoman Empire is particularly pertinent today, when the cauldron of ancient hatred once more boils over, but his prose would be welcome at any time." --The Boston Globe
"May be read with pleasure and profit by everyone, not least the traveler headed east of Vienna and west of Baghdad." --The Wall Street Journal
"A delightfully picaresque history, brimming with memorable anecdotes and outrageous personalities." --Kirkus Reviews
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Therefore............ here's my original review: This book is a fairly easy read and not too long, about 325 pages with a fairly easy to read font size. But I don’t recommend it unless it’s to a person who wants to read it as their first introduction into the history of the Ottoman Empire. I think it would be a good “skeleton” on which to build more details in further readings, but even so, this skeleton is missing a lot of bones.
To me this composition lacked authenticity, as not a single footnote for reference was used throughout the book. I kept asking myself questions such as, “Who said that?” “Where did that statistic come from?” “How can I be sure if that statement is accurate?”
One example of many, many statements needing foot notes or reference points throughout the book is seen on page 227. Goodwin writes, “There were 56 assaults and 96 sorties; both sides exploded exactly 1,364 mine each.” Really? Where did he get that data? Did he make it up? Did he read it somewhere? If so, he needs a footnote for reference.
Also, the final chapter, “Epilogue,” appeared to me to be merely conjecture. It read like the end of a fairy tale. The entire chapter was a story about the dogs in Salonica and Istanbul near the end of the Empire. He describes how they became problematic to the citizens and therefore, were rounded up and shipped over to an island in the Sea of Marmara, but later swam back. Is that a fact? Where did that detail of history come from? He could have omitted the entire “Epilogue.” It was hogwash.
I’ve read several books on the Turks and the Ottoman Empire and most were difficult to read because of the names of individuals, places, time periods, etc. But that’s to be expected because I speak only English. I got through them because the subject interested me. If you’ve already read several books on the Ottoman Empire, you can skip this one. There are others far better than this one.
It is a "popular" history, but writen as a true scholar showing the author's depth of reading and familiarity with innumerable sources. It is not a boring timeline chronology of Sultans and battles, but an immersion into the Ottoman world ( much like his novels) in which you meet these characters and join them in the events.
I read the book years ago, then traveled to Istanbul, Greece, Bosnia, and even to Eger, Hungary to see the northern most minaret of the Ottoman conquest. Reading the book now for the second time was even more enjoyable.
Goodwin takes us on a remarkable journey through the history, places and people of this long-lasting period and explains many of the reasons for the later ethnic wars and weaknesses of subsequent Balkanised states. The long history gets complicated and yet Goodwin takes the time and energy to really explain the circumstances under which each of the new sovereign states is created, sometimes then devastated by other newly-emerging states and the ultimate failures of many in this troubled part of Europe and Asia Minor. Contemporary wars and religious schisms are easily explained by the animosity shown by each of the protagonist states and political figures of modern history.
In spite of all the "to-ing" and "fro-ing" of peoples, languages and ethnic hostilities, Goodwin's story-telling is clear and easily followed...and exactingly, historically correct and free of any bias.
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