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1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West Paperback – August 15, 2006
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"Crowley's fascinating account...reads more likely lively fiction...The characters, led by Mohammed II, the young leader of the Ottoman Turks, and Constantine XI, the wearying 57th emperor of a weakening Byzantium, are drawn in great detail from historical source material to bring them to life on the page."
About the Author
Roger Crowley was born in England and studied English at Cambridge University. After university, he taught English in Istanbul where he developed his interest in the city and its history. He has traveled widely throughout Turkey, including three journeys on foot across Western Anatolia, and has a working knowledge of Turkish. For the past fifteen years he has worked as a successful educational publisher for Nelson Thornes in Cheltenham, England.
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The moment I started reading this book I was its prisoner, I could not put it down, for three consecutive hours I was reading until I fell asleep. Considering it is a history book full of detailed events, it is never boring. I was eager to see if when I continued reading the next day, if it will be also as exciting, it was till the end.
You will live the events of those days, the Ottoman art of war compared to the Europeans, the manufacturing of cannons, the logistics, army composition, new warfare guns and first use of Cannon battery formations for the first time in history, and their effect in the thousand years old walls of Constantinople, this vivid city that was in decline and disintegration which led to its defeat.
The book is so eventful that it is impossible to put down!
As for the subject matter itself, the book starts as a general overview of the emergence of Islam, it's conquest of the Arab world and it's previous conflicts with the Byzantines. It then generally covers the Byzantines history in the area over the previous 400 years and the way thier policies and mutual interactions led up the events to be covered.
The bulk of the book is a straight forward military history of the battle and the seige, covering historical documents as well as personal accounts of the battle from individuals who fought it. It covers the blood and guts details that you would expect to find in a medieval battle, detailing atrocieties committed with no attempt to whitewash or excuse, but also no attempt to judge from a modern perspective. All in all, one of the most enjoying and easy to read books I've read in some time.
A must-read book.