"If you want to understand how Empires are established, how they flourish and how they vanish, and if you're only reading one book, make it Barkey's Empire of Difference. Here, on impressive display are: an amazing command of six centuries of Ottoman history, a rare ability to illuminate the analysis with comparisons from neighboring empires, and, most important, a never-failing grasp of the theoretical questions that matter. The intellectual ambition of this enterprise is audacious; it is an ambition that is fully realized. It vindicates the promise of historical sociology at the highest level."
-James C. Scott, Yale University
"This book about the past has stunning relevance to the present - and to the future. Karen Barkey has not only contributed to our understanding of empire - she has derived from history lessons that are highly pertinent to the modern, post-imperial world. She combines the skills of an imaginative and disciplined scholar with an intimate personal knowledge of the Ottoman legacy as well as a natural talent for lucid explication and narrative verve. She explains how the longevity of the Ottomans' 'Abode of Peace' was a result of their ability to adapt to changing internal and external circumstances - and how the intercommunal peace itself resulted from Sultans' and viziers' efforts to make a virtue out of diversity. Her concept of a 'negotiated enterprise'-in effect, a social arrangement on a massive scale that relied as much on soft power as hard power-has direct application to the challenges and opportunities for both national and transnational governance today. Altogether an achievement of brilliance, accessibility, and contemporary utility."
-Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution and author of The Great Experiment
"The Ottoman Empire was one of the most successful and long-lasting examples of legitimate rule over a population characterized by extensive religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity. Karen Barkey convincingly argues that this achievement was due to the Ottomans' ability to maintain openness and tolerance. She draws from a rich literature to argue her compelling case. In retelling the story of the Empire's accomplishments and eventual demise, she greatly succeeds in introducing Ottoman history into the literatures in comparative history and historical sociology. The Ottoman case will now take its deserved place in the growing debate on empires. This book will be mandatory reading for any intelligent discussion on empire."
-Çağlar Keyder, Binghamton University, State University of New York and Boğaziçi University
This book is a comparative study of imperial organization and longevity in the Ottoman Empire. Barkey's research demonstrates that the flexible techniques by which the Ottomans maintained their legitimacy, the cooperation of their diverse elites, and their control over economic and human resources were responsible for the longevity of this "negotiated empire."