The Great Siege of Vienna is the centerpiece for historian Andrew Wheatcroft's richly drawn portrait of the centuries-long rivalry between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires for control of the European continent. A gripping work by a master historian, The Enemy at the Gate offers a timely examination of an epic clash of civilizations.
©2009 Andrew Wheatcroft; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"This is not a work of popular history for the casual reader, but scholars and students of history would benefit greatly from this well-researched account of 17th-century Ottoman-Hapsburg political power." (School Library Journal)
"Wheatcroft offers an outstanding blow-by-blow description of the siege, which in the end was decided through a combination of luck and several critical Ottoman blunders." (Booklist)
I really liked the details about the siege itself. Those details are what many authors tend to leave out. They usually say something like "the Ottoman army laid siege and captured xyz" but never tell you how they did it. Wheatcroft does an excellent job in his description. Gives you that feeling as if you were there. The narrator does a good job though his voice is to deep for me. Sometimes it sounds like he has something in his throat and can be distracting. But I will definitely keep this book in my library and listen to again.
The detail and nuance about Turkish-European tensions and he military history were great!
Fascinating...would not listen again but a great source of reference material
A great summary of the long enmity/relationship of East and West. Detailed history about military strategy and tactics - infantry, cavalry, artillery - very interesting for any military person. Do not dip into this history, however, without hearing the author's warning in the last chapter - this book raises questions, but should not be used as propaganda.
40 years ago I would have hated this book. As a young soldier I would have despaired at its lack of focus on battle and weapons.
With age my tastes have matured and I enjoyed the grand narrative of social, historic, dynastic, logistic, religious, political, and diplomatic factors that contributed to conflict. The prose was clear and simple and I never had re-read the author's text to clarify what he is trying to say.
I only gave 4 stars because for the last hour or so of the book the author introduced rambling post-war themes. While these themes were interesting in themselves they were juxtaposing the outcome of the siege of Vienna with the ultimate demise of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires - a larger topic best left to another volume.
Story starts out strong and is good until the end of the Vienna siege. After that it seems rushed and much of it seems like the author is just trying to check off topics. Would have benefited from more of the story of the siege or information about Eugene of Savoy's exploits. Ending just seems ad hoc.
Prior to this book my research has primarily focused on European history prior to 1700. This book took me into the 18th century in an area previously never explored by myself. My only complaint was the overall organization of the book. It started off being about the Ottomans leading up to 1683, after the siege it was primarily a Habsburg tale. Im assuming that was the intent, but the latter half of the story was not told in the same way as the first half, and the overarching "fear" concept was not made apparent for both sides. Perhaps this was the point. Non the less a great read, and opened the door into a new area for me in central and Eastern Europe prior the industrial revolution, revolution/absolutism, and nationalism. I highly recommend this book.
I was really hoping for more detail on overall Ottoman culture. Instead it was a narrative of the battle for Vienna... Which, in fairness, was what it advertised itself to be.
The author starts off by saying well we can ignore the Clash of Civilations analysis of the Habsburgs, Ottoman conflict, and why is that? Much of the book seemed to be nothing more than a politcially correct attempt to white wash the well deserved fear that the Ottomas created in the west.
I LOVE HISTORY!!!
This book was a bit of an eye opener for me since I had not taken the time to understand the events that occurred between these empires.
"Important part of European History"
This is a reasonably balanced retelling of the last act in Turkish attempts to expand their empire westwards into Christendom. The writer attempts to strike a balance between appreciation of the military expertise of the Turks which, though different, matched that of their Western opponents, while at the same time trying to explain why certain decisions were made which contributed to the victory for the Christians. It was definitely not a war between courageous Christians and savage but cowardly foreigners.
The reading gets a 4 only because I cannot stand the author saying "4 July" rather than "on the fourth of July" each time a date appears!
"An important history and a good production."
This is well worth your time and attention. I suggest reading Andrew Wheatcroft's earlier Hapsburg book first.
"Preoccupied with fighting"
Until the last two chapters it was preoccupied with military battle, heroics and such. Very American commercialistic - I found most of it uninteresting.
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