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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clear Look At Over 300 Years Of History
This is another great book in the Essential History series. One point that sticks out is that Stephen Turnbull clearly and concisely pulled together over 300 years of Ottoman history. The obvious shortcoming is the fact that many battles are given only a brief description. The reader is left wanting more. Given the size limitation of Osprey books, however, there is...
Published on June 14, 2006 by Mike Dillemuth

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Vivid Military Narrative
Stephen Turnbull's The Ottoman Empire 1326 - 1699, Osprey's Essential History volume #62, is a lively and well-written narrative of a critical and brutal phase of Medieval warfare. Indeed, this volume is one of Turnbull's best efforts since his samurai efforts. Turnbull succeeds in bringing three centuries of Ottoman conquests into sharp focus and he adds great drama to...
Published on March 4, 2004 by R. A Forczyk


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Vivid Military Narrative, March 4, 2004
Stephen Turnbull's The Ottoman Empire 1326 - 1699, Osprey's Essential History volume #62, is a lively and well-written narrative of a critical and brutal phase of Medieval warfare. Indeed, this volume is one of Turnbull's best efforts since his samurai efforts. Turnbull succeeds in bringing three centuries of Ottoman conquests into sharp focus and he adds great drama to this historical survey. However, Turnbull's otherwise fine effort is marred by two critical deficiencies: lack of sufficient maps to support the narrative and a neglect of Ottoman operations in North Africa and the Mideast.
After a short introduction and chronology, Turnbull's The Ottoman Empire 1326 - 1699 briefly examines the rise of the Ottomans and the nature of the Ottoman army. It is interesting to contrast modern armies in the Mideast with Turnbull's description of an Ottoman military system built on discipline, military efficiency and a willingness to adopt new technology and tactics. The bulk of the 55-page campaign narrative focuses on Turkish advances into the Balkans, with only slight asides for other areas. Turnbull also provides interesting sections on portrait of a soldier (a Serbian janissary), portrait of a civilian (a grand vizier), and a discussion of terror and toleration in the empire. Turnbull's bibliography is a bit skimpy. Certainly the weakest aspect of the volume is the limited number of maps; normally Osprey essential histories have ten maps but Turnbull provides only five and they are not particularly useful maps. Readers will note that very few of the battles or sieges listed in the narrative are depicted in the maps. The five maps include: the early Ottoman conquests (1291-1389); the major crusades to halt Ottoman expansion (1396/1444/1448); the expansion of the Ottoman Empire under Mehmet the Conqueror (1451-1481); the expansion of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1683; and the Ottoman Eastern European Front in the 17th Century.
Turnbull's descriptions of the Turkish advance into the Balkans is exciting and vivid, with excellent descriptions of the victory at Nicopolis (1396), the defeat at Ankara (1402), and more victories at Varna (1444) and Constantinople (1453). One of the more interesting personalities that Turnbull highlights is Prince Vlad Dracula from Wallachia, who used terror and guerrilla warfare to contest the Ottoman advance into modern-day Romania. Dracula's terror tactics actually succeeded in intimidated even the Turks - a rare occurrence - and deterring invasion in 1462, although Dracula was later killed by the Turks. Turnbull also discusses the great Ottoman victory of Mohacs (1526) at length, and how this reinforced a tendency for land expansion. Throughout the narrative, Turnbull downplays economic, social and political dynamics in the Ottoman Empire and he attributes Ottoman decline in the 17th Century to poor leadership, internal divisions, and the growing professionalism of European armies.
Readers should note that Turnbull virtually ignores the Ottoman wars with Persia, and their conquests in the Arabian peninsula and North Africa, which renders this account overly Euro-centric.
What Turnbull presents in this volume is a dramatic and well-illustrated summarized account of the centuries-long struggle between the Ottomans and various European states for control of the Balkans and lower Eastern Europe. However, this account is far from comprehensive in either geographic scope or thematic depth, and should not be used as introduction to Ottoman history for those readers requiring a broader canvas.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clear Look At Over 300 Years Of History, June 14, 2006
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This is another great book in the Essential History series. One point that sticks out is that Stephen Turnbull clearly and concisely pulled together over 300 years of Ottoman history. The obvious shortcoming is the fact that many battles are given only a brief description. The reader is left wanting more. Given the size limitation of Osprey books, however, there is really no way to overcome this minor shortcoming. If more attention were given to one battle, then something else would have to be taken out.

The book contains some notable bits of information that the average reader will find fascinating. The activities of Vlad Dracul, the Impaler, are particularly interesting. The author does a splendid job of describing the real life activities of the man who became the literary inspiration for Count Dracula, the vampire.

The history of the Empire is told in chronological order. Thus, it is easy to follow. The author also expands on certain topics by devoting two chapters to a Serbian janissary and a civilian Grand Vizier. This adds a unique perspective and prevents the book from becoming nothing more than a list of battles. Bottom line: the author achieved his goal of writing a brief account of the Ottoman Empire, its battles, and the associated political motivations. This is no small feat given the expansive period covered. The book is a great reference on a part of history that is rarely taught in school.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point in learning about the Ottoman Empire, March 28, 2005
"The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699" by Stephen Turnbull is a good introductory book on the Ottoman Turks. I would recommend reading this volume on the Ottomans before the other Osprey books on them. The book chronologically covers the history of the Ottomans and the reader gains a sense of who they were and who they fought. As you may expect, the volume is richly illustrated with photographs, woodcuts, paintings, and maps.

Taking into account that the Osprey military books really are concise volumes and are limited to a specific number of pages, the fact that much of Ottoman history is quickly reviewed or even omitted is understandable. However, the fact that several pages have white space without illustration is less excusable. The 1683 Siege of Vienna is quickly glossed over leaving a half blank page at its conclusion. Without a doubt, there was room to expand on this battle.

My interest in the Ottoman Empire was learning who this foe was that attacked and troubled Europe, particularly Poland. Interestingly enough, details of wars between the Ottomans and Poles are throughout the book. On the cover of the book lies the dead king Wladislaw III at the battle of Varna 1444 and toward the end it briefly mentions King Jan Sobieski's assistance in the Siege of Vienna. If you are hoping to find many of the details of the Polish and Ottomans, you are going to be disappointed as they are few and far between. The lack of details is almost excessive as the book even fails to mention Sobieski was Polish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BACK WHEN TURKEY WAS SOMEWHAT INTERSTING, December 19, 2010
This review is from: The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699 (Essential Histories) (Hardcover)
The Ottoman Empire was the strength of the east for centuries. This was the empire the conquered Constantinople, which as consequence wiped the last trace to the ancient Roman Empire of the face of the Earth. The Ottoman Empire at its height was one of the most powerful civilizations in the world. However, it when through a long dying period where it was `the sick man of Europe' that finally ended when the empire was dissolved after World War I.

This book by Stephen Turnbull deals with Ottoman Empire from 1326-1699; unfortunately, it is a book that is less a hundred pages long. Try to imagine writing a book about the United States of America from 1776-2010, and you have ninety-four pages to do it in. The chances of you doing the subject justice are slim to none. I realize this book is about military history but still I have a tough time imagining a book that goes from the American Revolutionary War to the `War of Terror' that could cover the subject with any real reason. The Ottoman Empire was one of the world's most complex and interesting civilizations and this work does hardly scratches the surface.

The book does have some nice maps and imagery but not enough to actually save it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Osprey format, September 13, 2011
This review is from: The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699 (Essential Histories) (Hardcover)
I have read a number of reviews on the different Osprey books that concluded that they do not do the subject justice. All of these reviewers want a longer abook about the subject. The Osprey books like Esseential Histories are constrained by the format of about one hundred pages. They are ment as an introduction to the subject and hopefully lead you to more research. To fault them for their length is like buying from the lunch menue but wanting the dinner size portion. If you buy from the Osprey menue then you have accept the format restictions.
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The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699 (Essential Histories)
The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699 (Essential Histories) by Stephen Turnbull (Hardcover - December 12, 2003)
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