Defenders of the Faith

Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536
Narrated by: Jim Meskimen
Length: 14 hrs and 48 mins
Categories: History, Ancient
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A best-selling historian recounts 16 years that shook the world - the epic clash between Europe and the Ottoman Turks that ended the Renaissance and brought Islam to the gates of Vienna.

In the best-selling Warriors of God and Dogs of God, James Reston Jr. limned two epochal conflicts between Islam and Christendom. Here he examines the ultimate battle in that centuries-long war, which found Europe at its most vulnerable and Islam on the attack. This drama was propelled by two astonishing young sovereigns: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Turkish sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Though they represented two colliding worlds, they were remarkably similar. Each was a poet and cultured cosmopolitan; each was the most powerful man on his continent; each was called "Defender of the Faith"; and each faced strident religious rebellion in his domain.

With Europe newly hobbled and the Turks suffused with restless vigor, the stage was set for a drama that unfolded from Hungary to Rhodes and ultimately to Vienna itself, which both sides thought the Turks could win. If that happened, it was generally agreed that Europe would become Muslim as far west as the Rhine.

During these same years, Europe was roiled by constant internal tumult that saw, among other spectacles, the Diet of Worms, the Sack of Rome, and an actual wrestling match between the English and French monarchs in which Henry VIII's pride was badly hurt. Would - could - this fractious continent be united to repulse a fearsome enemy?

©2009 James Reston, Jr. and Claire Bloom (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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An enthralling journey

This book manages to fully flesh out historical figures who (with the exception of Henry VIII) sometimes come across as somewhat two-dimensional in other works of history. The liberal use of quotations from first/second hand witnesses in addition the performers vigorous delivery provides both a sense of levity and sympathy towards the different figures. The cast of characters; Charles V, Suleiman, Francis I, Henry VIII, Leo X, Clement VII, and Martin Luther are all dealt with fairly and are fully fleshed out. A extremely well done history dealing with a powerhouse cast of characters who populated the political landscape of early 16th Century Europe and Central Asia.