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)
1683: The long clash between the Austrian Hapsburg Holy Roman Empire and the Turkish Ottoman Empire comes to a head outside of Vienna, as the Turks and their allies attempt to capture the city for the second time.
This book chronicles the events leading up to the bloody confrontation, as well as the details of the campaigns that followed.
The author lays out the events in an extremely unbias, academic, format and does not "whitewash" any event within. The narrative is excellent, this is easily the best account of this era that I have read.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
I really liked listening to Andrew Wheatcroft???s The Enemy at the Gate, about the long conflict between the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires (and hence between Islam and Christianity and East and West), as read by Stefan Rudnicki (with his warm bass voice, gravitas, and enunciation). Even though I vaguely knew the outcome of big battles like the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683 (from other histories and Wheatcroft???s foreshadowing), the events, told so vividly, were suspenseful.
In the first section of his book, Wheatcroft sets up the historical, political, and cultural background of the siege of Vienna and sketches the personalities and motivations of its key figures. He depicts the siege and its aftermath in the second and third sections. He recounts the errors, prejudices, and admirable points of both Ottoman and Hapsburg cultures and individuals, including frequent atrocities, rare mercies, and inevitable glorifications of their heroes. The details about the changing nature of Ottoman and Hapsburg warfare from the Middle Ages into the 18th century (weapons, artillery, fortifications, tactics, chains of command, supply, morale, and so on) are fascinating (if you like military history). Sipahis and hussars, janissaries and pikemen, pashas and colonels, miners and engineers??? And the etymology of grenade.
The conflict between the rival cultures who demonized each other and learned from each other sheds light on today???s world. The coda of the book, in which Wheatcroft explains how the biased and distorted visions of the past are still affecting us today (as in the feeling of many Europeans--like Cardinal Ratzinger--that Turkey should be kept out of the EU lest the heroic feats of the defenders of Vienna in 1683 be in vain), is powerful.
This book would be of most interest to fans of military history, but should also be heard by anyone who wants to know more about how the Eastern Islamic and Western Christian worlds came to feel the way they do about each other today.
disappointment, it looks like a substantial portion of the text was lost
a large section of text from part 1 was repeated in part 2. I have no idea what was missing.
If you're a fan of history this is a compelling tale with larger than life protagonists battling in many cases, literally to the death. The author is to be commended for his excellent research and his ability to make the story so engaging.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
In this book Wheatcroft brilliantly shows the skirmishes and battles that raged for centuries between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans, and their numerous vassals on both sides, represented not so much a “clash of civilizations’ as a collision of Empires. The author point out the struggle was not so much between Islam and Christendom, territory was the goal, and the right to claim the legacy of the Roman Empire.
Wheatcroft is the author of several books on both the Hapsburg and Ottomans. He is a noted Habsburg historian. Wheatcroft has done a great deal of research recently in Ottoman studies including issues of military history. The author covers in depth the Siege of Vienna in 1683. Wheatcroft covers both the political and military context of the siege. The Ottomans and their Tatar auxiliaries had great strength in the fighting skills of their infantry and the mobility of their horseman. They were less skilled and disciplined in the art of the Siege.
The book goes a long way to fill the gaps in popular knowledge about the Ottoman, after the Golden age of Mehmed the Conqueror and Suleiman the Magnificent and before the fall of the Empire in WWI. The book focuses on the 17th and 18th century battles between the mightiest Empire of Europe and the largest in the Middle East.
I found the book interesting and easy to read, it nicely filled the gaps in my knowledge of the subject. Stefan Rudnicki did a good job narrating the book.
I had several false starts with this book. Another one read by a very deep voice which is not typical and hard to tolerate at first. Powerful and seems to overwhelm the ears, but once I settled in, this was not a distraction and the book is very strong. Probably more depth of knowledge and specificity than most general listeners will want. It is a target audience sort of thing. Not sweeping, it goes into great detail. And that is what I wanted for this period as it intrigued me and I knew little about it. This might be the definitive study of the campaign and era. Loved the stuff about the Scythians. And there is vivid detail on battle: so if you are squeamish then just know heads will roll, but is certainly not a gore-porn book that makes splatter the focus.
Somewhat well spent. I got the feel in the book that the author was a bit over zealous in his effort to try to be balanced in presenting the two combantants as morally equally corrupt. I often would hear additional negative adjectives tied to the armies of the west and less often with the turks. Almost as though he often over compensated.
The lead up to the battle of Vienna itself was a bit drier than the rest of the book. I considered stopping about 2 hours in. But I held out and enjoyed the rest of the book.
Fine even reading, was not a distraction or a highlight.
ultimately, it was not time wasted. Just not the overwhelming success I have had with other reads (Try Barbara Tuckman!).
An interesting and comprehensive survey of a little studied portion of history. Excellent reader, highly recommend.
Definitely. The book brings to life the terror of the Ottoman threat in the 16th century and the horrors of war for those who lived through those times.
I am both very interested in history and persuaded of its importance to an understanding of the world. On the one hand, we need to understand the conditions and factors that brought about situations and events; on the other, we need to acquire a sense of what it was like to be there.
Hearing it made it even more vivid.
Didn't cry but was certainly stirred emotionally.
Not to be missed.
I liked the topic it is an usually overlooked piece of history. However the book is messy. It goes from one war to the previous and then two centuries ahead and then back again. It kind of feels that the author is not an expert on the Ottomans and is very read in the Austrians. The reading is just ok. In general I think that this audiobook did not meet my expectations.
"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!
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