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Empires of the Sea: The Contest for the Center of the World | [Roger Crowley]

Empires of the Sea: The Contest for the Center of the World

Empires of the Sea tells the story of the 50-year world war between Islam and Christianity for the Mediterranean: one of the fiercest and most influential contests in European history. It traces events from the appearance on the world stage of Suleiman the Magnificent through "the years of devastation" when it seemed possible that Islam might master the whole sea, to the final brief flourishing of a united Christendom in 1571.
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Publisher's Summary

Empires of the Sea tells the story of the 50-year world war between Islam and Christianity for the Mediterranean: one of the fiercest and most influential contests in European history. It traces events from the appearance on the world stage of Suleiman the Magnificent - the legendary ruler of the Ottoman Empire - through "the years of devastation" when it seemed possible that Islam might master the whole sea, to the final brief flourishing of a united Christendom in 1571.

The core of the story is the six years of bitter and bloody conflict between 1565 and 1571 that witnessed a fight to the finish. It was a tipping point in world civilization, a fast-paced struggle of spiraling intensity that led from the siege of Malta and the battle for Cyprus to the pope's last-gasp attempt to rekindle the spirit of the Crusades and the apocalypse at Lepanto.

It features a rich cast of characters: Suleiman the Magnificent, greatest of Ottoman sultans; Hayrettin Barbarossa, the pirate who terrified Europe; the Knights of St. John, last survivors of the medieval crusading spirit; the aged visionary Pope Pius V; and the meteoric, brilliant Christian general, Don John of Austria.

It is also a narrative about places: the shores of the Bosphorus, the palaces and shipyards of the Venetian lagoon, the barren rocks of Malta, the islands of Greece, the slave markets of Algiers - and the character of the sea itself, with its complex pattern of winds and weather, which provided the conditions and the field of battle. It involves all the peoples who border the Great Sea: Italians, Turks, Greeks, Spaniards, the French and the people of North Africa.

This story is one of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. Its denouement, the battle of Lepanto, is a single action of quite shocking impact - considered at the time in Christian Europe to be "a day to end all days".

©2008 Roger Crowley; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A masterly narrative that captures the religious fervor, brutality, and mayhem of this intensive contest for the 'center of the world'." (Kirkus)
"Masterfully synthesizing primary and secondary sources, [Crowley] vividly reconstructs the great battles...and introduces the larger-than-life personalities that dominated council chambers and fields of battle." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Scot Bloomfield Hills, MI 06-12-14
    Scot Bloomfield Hills, MI 06-12-14 Member Since 2010
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    "A Great Book"

    I just finished another Roger Crowley book on Venice and it reminded me of how good 'Empires of the Sea' was as well. I love history and both books were exactly the right depth of factual detail interwoven with personal insights that make the listen as enjoyable as watching a your favorite movie. I could not give higher praise than I would give this book. If you have an interest in history I would almost guarantee that you would find this book a keeper.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 11-11-13
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 11-11-13 Member Since 2014

    Acteon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than a movie"
    If you could sum up Empires of the Sea in three words, what would they be?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The defense of Malta


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Not to be missed by anyone interested in history.

































    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew WAKEFIELD, RI, United States 08-14-13
    Andrew WAKEFIELD, RI, United States 08-14-13 Member Since 2013

    AndrewA

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Book"
    What made the experience of listening to Empires of the Sea the most enjoyable?

    The book was written well and the writer has a excellent grasp of history.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    King Philip.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not but he was quite good.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The siege of Malta.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jon Meridian, ID, United States 06-18-13
    jon Meridian, ID, United States 06-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting, but could have been much shorter"
    Where does Empires of the Sea rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 06-28-12
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 06-28-12 Member Since 2013

    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.

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    "Lots of people tried to kill each other"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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