I couldn't ask for a better history book.
I have read several books about the crusades but this was the first book I have listened to relating to this time period and this theatre of war. I was surprised at what I had been missing.
Since this is my first book dealing specifically with this time period I don't feel qualified to address bias. I will say that partisans on both sides, who are inclined to try to read these books to justify, or vilify, either side will find much ammunition in this book.
The soldiers who fought in these wars on both sides tend to define both bravery and cruelty in a strange mixture.
The author did a masterful job of providing fascinating anecdotes from early sources as well as setting the context and informing the reader a bit about the context of the times. Even, as a new reader to this time period I did not feel lost as the story unfolded.
The reason I say a movie "or 3??? is that there were several major battles covered and any one of which could make a great movie. Rhodes, Malta, and Lepanto seem obvious choices.
As stated by several others, the narrator was first class.
Bravo to all involved in this audible book.
Excellent audiobook that's full of gore and local color and dates and battles and geopolitics and religion and it's all brought to life by the always terrific John Lee's narration.
The one flaw is that there is often a background hiss and crackle to the production (I assume it's the production and not my audible.com download) that, while not prominent, can last for long stretches. It was so distracting that it required listening with sound turned way down on my headphones in order not to annoy. So it's not the audiobook you'd want if you were, as I've been known to do, operating a tractor on the farm while trying to listen.
The subtitle says it all, "The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World." The coverage of the time period was excellent. There were times I could actually picture the sea battles. Excellent read on the subject.
This is not in the style of Livy. It reads more like historical fiction. This history helps explain many of the East West issues lasting since the Late middle ages.
It is fascinating to learn about the history of the relationship between the Middle East and Europe, a history much more complex than commonly acknowledged. In the 1560's, the Ottoman empire could take on Christian Europe and fight it to a draw. Certainly in the US, the 16th century is not a time widely discussed (take a look at A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz). All these people died for their belief in the true faith, fighting for what they felt was a turning point in history, and the battles are mostly forgotten about today. This book is interesting if only from that perspective.
That being said, the narrative was pretty dry. Two or three hours on the siege was a little hard to take, and hard to visualize as an audiobook without maps. It would have been more compelling if the author made more of an effort to put the battles in a larger context. At the same time Malta was under siege, Europe was undergoing the Protestant reformation and exploiting the New World--this is mentioned only in passing but must have been a major factor in the politics of the Christian side. What was going on in the Ottoman Empire? You can't really tell, as the narrative seems biased towards the West (even slipping into "us against them" type language at times).
All in all: interesting, but probably not worth a download.
Gives a real sense of what the Mediterranean was like in the 15th-16th century for those who had to live on its shores. As well as its significance.
The defense of Malta
I don't know what a good tag line might be, but I would certainly dedicate it to the countless thousands who had to sacrifice their life futilely on that sea.
Not to be missed by anyone interested in history.
Every book is worth considering. It's the kind of consideration on what to do with the book that differs.
This era of conflicts between the Islamic and Christian worlds is not very well documented, which is why this book does a great job in filling the gaps of what happened between the Ottomans and the Christian kings after the Crusades.
The book was written well and the writer has a excellent grasp of history.
I have not but he was quite good.
The siege of Malta.
This is a middle of the pack book. The trouble with military history in audio format is that you zoom past the large number of places names and dates. Its hard to keep it all straight. It was interesting, and I knew next to nothing about this period in history, so I am glad I got it.
I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.
Lots of people tried to kill each other in brutal ways. There, you know all you need to know and now you don't have to download this book.
It was painful to listen to, like being killed with a ball of metal shot that soared through the air, ripping into my flesh and tearing out my organs which lay oozing blood in the street. There, now you know what the writing is like and you don't need to download this book.
What, are you still interested? Fine, maybe you like blood and gore more than I do. Maybe you actually are interested in the details of each and every tedious, repetitive battle. I'd rather read history, political maneuvering, biographical information about the leaders, cultural information about the fighters or the countries doing battle. You don't get that in this book. You get tedious, repetitive descriptions of battle interspersed with itty bitty bits of historical information or information about the reasons for the long, deadly, bloody, horrible, sickening battles.
The narrator was fine, given the crappy material he was reading.