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Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520206007
ISBN-10: 0520206002
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kafadar contributes a distinguished addition to Ottoman studies with this thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion of the pioneer phase of Ottoman state building between the late 13th century and 1453. . . . It is a measure of the breadth and seriousness of his approach that his reflections on history, nationalism, and historic folk memory acquire an immediate relevance in the present context of the enormities occurring in those Balkan lands that were once among the Ottomans' oldest territorial acquisitions."--"Choice

About the Author

Cemal Kafadar is Associate Professor of History at Harvard University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (November 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520206002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520206007
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Reading this book requires quite a background on the theses of the foundation of the Ottoman Empire. The author questions the accounts about the nature of the early Ottoman state. Did it consist of tribal Turks (extension of Seljuks) with the purpose of propagating Islam as asserted by Koprulu or were they heteredox gazis cooperating with Christian Byzantine locals as asserted by Wittek? Or were they just plunderers as claimed by a couple of Greek historians? Kafadar is very analytical. It is quite stimulating to read his logical deductions where historical data are not available. He seems to reach a synthesis closer to Wittek but not quite Wittek though. It seems more like Lindner who revised Wittek's argument in 1980's. Kafadar further discusses how the centralization of the Ottoman administration during the early 15th century eliminated the gaza spirit over time. The book is analytic and presents interesting facts and possibilites such as the real name (or the second name) of Osman.
The only drag is the abbreviations. For example, the author uses Apz for Asikpasazade or OE for Ottoman Empire throughout the text.
It is very well worth reading if you are interested in the nature of early Ottomans.
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Format: Paperback
Reading Kafadar's book is not only reading a history of the Ottoman Empire, but it is remembering the complexity of history. Kafadar's book analyses the forces at play, their effects, and their results on the creation of the Ottoman Empire. The questions Kafadar asks in this book are not only very important to uncover the often misunderstood beginnings of the Ottoman's; but it also addresses "the myths of creation" about the Ottoman Empire, which were to serve political purposes. Last but not least Kafadar's style is very powerful and capable of working on such a problematic period and yet make the reader flow through his arguments so easily. I can recommend this book to all interested in the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East and generally in great historical analysis, do not shy away from it because it is not a popular historical account.
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