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Publisher's Summary

The Ottoman Empire has long exerted a strong pull on Western minds and hearts. For over 600 years the empire swelled and declined, rising from a dusty fiefdom in the foothills of Anatolia to a power which ruled over the Danube and the Euphrates with the richest court in Europe. But its decline was prodigious, protracted and total.

©1998 Jason Goodwin (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good introduction to the Ottomans, bad narration

This is a book with a terrible narrator. I must say Im not very picky about narrators, but this is a very extreme case, as the voice is not only terribly slow and flat but also sometimes hard to understand. This is especially bad in the first hour.
As I'm very interested in the subject, I soldiered on and got through the end, the narrator got better, but never really good. If you can stand the defective narration there is a very interesting book here, as the history of the Ottoman Empire is both fascinating and crucial as we are talking about one of the biggest empires in the world from the 15th century onwards. Its an epic story which encompasses the history of Europe in the fateful clashes of the Turks with the West, and the history of the Ottomans is crucial to understand the modern world today from the Balkans to the Middle East to the North of Africa to Russia and World War I.
The book is well written and stylish. However, it is also somewhat haphazard in its structure. The writer is not a professional historian but a fiction writer, so sometimes the writing is a little more impressionistic. Also the book is chronological, but the writer chooses his chapter by subject or by theme, and then in the same chapter he flashes back and forward through time so the order of events is not always clear, and sometimes the book is more poetic than thorough. To go deeper this book in audio form should need to be at least 20 hours as the history of the Ottoman encompasses so many centuries and territories. Sample the audio before buying to see if you can tolerate the narrator, and if you do you will have a decent, but not definitive history of the Ottoman Empire.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible

I love it incredible way of writing makes it so easy to see everything in your head

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Louise Fallon
  • 08-01-18

Difficult to take in

I didn't get much information from this book, it wasn't very easy to take in the information being provided.

I'm not sure if it was the delivery or the story but the characters and time periods were not very easy to follow, the state of the rest of the world and the era of the time wasn't always referenced, so I wasn't left with a good understanding of the history or the way of life of the Ottoman empire.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Nik Jewell
  • 05-03-18

A rambling mess

I so wanted to like this book but I found myself unable to follow it. Switching between a chronological and thematic approach doesn't really work; the historical side is too sparse and further reading is required to fill in the gaps.

I thought it was maybe that it was not suitable as an audio book so I bought the Kindle edition as well. When I started reading that I realised that the experience was even worse as its flaws could not be blamed on a failure in my concentration.

It presents itself as an introductory survey but it fails in this aim.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen Finn
  • 04-03-18

A trifle chaotic but full of insights.

I don't think I'd pass an exam after hearing this, but it was very interesting just the same.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ayman
  • 07-28-18

Boring poem not history

One of the most boring book , the author write like poem to the level he lost the meaning of history book !!!. Also very little coverage on the Middle East side of the ottoman

0 of 1 people found this review helpful