Thursday, October 01, 2009

John Freely's THE GRAND TURK Reviewed in Booklist

Booklist offers a critique of The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II—Conqueror of Constantinople and Master of an Empire, by John Freely: "The fall of the “impregnable city” of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 ended the enfeebled Byzantine Empire; it also confirmed the emergence of a new, vibrant, and aggressive power that would control the southern and eastern rims of the Mediterranean. The Turkish assault on the city was led by Mehmet II, who was only 21. Freely, who has written numerous books on Turkish history, offers a well researched survey of Mehmet’s life and times. The author does an admirable job of separating myth from reality. Long despised by European Christians as a bloodthirsty tyrant, Mehmet is shown as a far more complicated figure. Given the serpentine nature of Ottoman dynastic politics, he was capable of ruthlessness and fratricidal violence. Yet, he was no thug. He could conduct diplomacy with subtle effectiveness and use it to avoid war when possible. Still, like Ottoman rulers before and after, his ultimate goal remained territorial expansion. A useful, informative survey that provides a balanced view of a seminal epoch in world history." — Jay Freeman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The book is obviouslly bias. When atrocities of non Ottomans are mentioned, eg the many times the crusaders and europeans broke their treaties with the Turks, it is written as if it is no big deal and yet thousands died due to this dishonest, evil and deceptive tendency. When he writes about a delegation sent to massacre the Ottomans but fail and are punished for it (remember they initiated the confrontation with the mindset of wiping out the Turks) Freely makes the Sultans retribution look so much worse and cruel and evil. such an obvious bias, it is hardly going to be a trustworthy book.