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Ottoman Centuries Paperback – August 1, 1979
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Top Customer Reviews
- Kinross has an engaging style, and this book may ignite an interest in Ottoman history in readers, but only for the EARLY history of the empire, which is clearly where Kinross' interests lie. Even then he doesn't seem to be able to distinguish between history and legend, and a rich and dynamic history is reduced to an Oriental soap opera. His account of the decline is depressing, reflective of Victorian bigotry and bias, and innaccurate and condescending to the point of being mildly insulting.
- Kinross uses NO Ottoman or Turkish sources whatsoever, but then he doesn't really use anything written later than the 19th c.
- He brushes over the 19th c, and subscribes to the 19th c British static view of imperial decay - the Ottomans just sat around declining and having things done to it. In reality, the 19th c is one of the most interesting periods of Ottoman history, wherin the empire was forced to respond to th impact of European capitalism and imperialism. Really dynamic and creative reform programs were instituted with the result that the Ottomans at the turn of the 20th c were incalculably stronger than they were at the turn of the 18th. The Tanzimat is given short shrift as an insincere effort to please the powers and is portrayed as the idea of the British Ambassador (!) and the Hamidiyan era is portrayed as a period of retrenchment, fanaticism, and decadence, when in reality Abdul Hamid, albeit with oppressively autocratic means, enormously modernized the empire and created the school system that educated later reformers including Ataturk.Read more ›
This is unfortunately perhaps the only work by Kinross, a great authority on Turkish history, still in print and (surprisingly) in mass circulation. Kinross's legendary biography of Ataturk and his studies of the Suez, the Taurus range, etc. have unfortunaly been forgotten; but for anyone who enjoyed this book or is in need of such a perceptive author as Kinross, there's always your Public Library.
Another reader commented on the omission of the Armenian massacres in the book: this is a blantantly erroneous accusation. For the record, Kinross goes well into the topic of the Armenian genocide campaigns by both Abdul-Hamid II and the Young Turks in this book: he gives, at great length, long and gruesome depictions of these horrifying mass-murders. In my experience with reading Kinross, he rarely misses an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy, even wryly pointing out in "Ataturk" the ironies of how it would later heavily burden the Turks on the deserted Eastern front against the Russians in WWI.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent review of history for someone visiting Eastern Europe or IstanbulPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not since Shelby Foote's wonderful "The Civil War: A Narrative" have I enjoyed a history book as much I did "The Ottoman Centuries. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Clay Kallam
For many Westerners, a notable omission from our pre-adult schooling is the history of the Ottoman Empire, which began in about 1300 A.D. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dean Lombardo
Well written but lack of western sources holds it back. Important parts of Ottoman history are glanced over such as Bayezid II's reign(despite lasting for 31 years) Selim the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Magnus Stenbock
Great book if you're looking at the overall rule of each Sultan and the personalities and general events that happen during each Sultan's reign. Read morePublished 11 months ago by jinha
The best that can be said of this book is that it is quite flawed as an introduction to the subject. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Boomer Woman
This is a Great book on a very complex and vast subject. Lord Kinross writes a book that is deep yet easy to read. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Juan Pablo Nicholls