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Andrew Wheatcroft

Author of The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire

18+ Works 1,656 Members 19 Reviews

About the Author

Andrew Wheatcroft is the author of many books One of the first scholars to use photography in writing the history of the Middle East, he has made art and images a central focus of his work. He is director of the international postgraduate Centre for Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling show more in Scotland show less

Works by Andrew Wheatcroft

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of War (1999) — Contributor — 455 copies, 1 review
The Road to War (2009) 181 copies, 3 reviews
A Christmas Carol (Eyewitness Classics) (1997) — Illustrator — 159 copies, 2 reviews
The Norman Heritage, 1055-1200 (1983) — Preface — 101 copies


Common Knowledge

Other names
Wheatcroft, A. J. M.
Places of residence
Dumfriesshire, Scotland, UK
St. John’s School, Leatherhead
Christ’s College Cambridge
University of Madrid
Professor of International Publishing and Communication
University of Stirling
Short biography
Andrew Wheatcroft is currently a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Creative Practice, Translation & Publishing at City University London and Chief Consultant at MVA Maclean Veit Associates. He was a Professor at the Stiring Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling from 1992-2009.



This book is not just an atlas. The author, as he explains in the Introduction, presents each revolution over a timespan to bring out its essential character, providing the background and causes of the events of the revolutions he included. [He notes: “The motive for choosing these particular revolutions is of necessity idiosyncratic.”] Thus there is more than the usual narrative accompanying the pictures and maps.

He begins with the American Revolution, and then moves forward in time. The book is divided into four sections: “The World Turned Upside Down” (covering upheavals in France, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Spanish America, Europe, India, Italy, China, Japan, Mexico, and Arabia); “The Seizure of Power” (spotlighting revolutions in Paris, Russia, Turkey, Bolshevism in Europe generally, Italy, Germany, and Spain); “Freedom, Now!” (Covering India, Southeast Asia, Kenya, Algeria, Indochina, and Cyprus); and “The Revolutionary Mirage” (featuring more recent upheavals in China, Cuba, Latin America, Southern Africa, the U.S., Ethiopia, Iran, Afghanistan, Middle East, Ireland, and the world generally).

This is an excellent resource for students of history looking for a basic understanding of revolutions - the book is more valuable in that respect in fact than the maps, albeit good, that accompany the text.
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nbmars | 2 other reviews | Dec 7, 2020 |
In attempting to do two things, give a more detailed look at selected particulars of Ottoman history and engage in moral judgment, Andrew Wheatcroft is successful at the first but a failure at the second. His glimpses of selected historical events, such as the fall of Constantinople and the dissolution of the Janissaries, provide thorough surveys of the turning points in the Ottoman Empire that do well in the accompaniment of more wide ranging histories of the Empire. Read this volume alongside Kinross, and the reader will learn a lot.

But the attempts at moralizing fizzle into irrelevancy. It is a quarter of a century now since Wheatcroft wrote his book. And, for that time it was written, the early 1990s, the hypocrisy of the West as judged against other cultures, was much in vogue--as it still is. But Wheatcroft was faced with a bit of a dilemma. How to fit the Ottoman Turks into that narrative. How to sympathize? How to appreciate? He fails because, instead of appreciating, he becomes ingratiating.

Two examples. First, the role of women. He is at some pains to show that the treatment of Ottoman women was not so bad as the West portrayed in what Wheatcroft thinks was propaganda and prejudice. So he introduces the writing of Western women visiting the Empire to prove his point. Those Western women find much appealing and even superior, they claim, in Ottoman institutions that give women freedom at home and in the street (the latter through the anonymity of dress). All of which brings up the question: if Ottoman women were so much freer than Western women, then we should certainly be able to see examples of Ottoman women visiting the West and writing of such. Where is the Ottoman counterpart of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu upon whom Wheatcroft so relies? Perhaps there is a counterpart. But I don't know it from reading this book. Wheatcroft was obligated to show us the same emancipated Ottoman woman free to comment and compare the Empire to the West.

The second example is sexuality. You can almost see Wheatcroft attempting to touch all the bases of hypocrisy without getting himself in trouble. But alas for the author so concentrated on moral hypocrisy, the passage of time often is not kind. Thus when once again explaining Western hypocrisy, this time regarding homosexuality, Wheatcroft engages in negative hypocrisy. That is, he believes both the Ottomans and the West were morally undermined by sexual perversion of an equal nature. Some twenty-five years later? Mr. Wheatcroft, meet LGBTQ.

This is the danger in moralizing history. Just describe and explain. That works well enough. Even compare. That works well, too. But to rely on comparing only morals simply means time and shifting attitudes will date your arguments and weaken them. Wheatcroft wants sympathy for the Ottomans and national redemption for the Turks. He should have let his historical narratives either make the case or not. Special pleading, here, weakened it, instead. Kinross was much more clever in his historical argumentation: he simply used narrative scissors to advance his preferred storyline. And because of that, Kinross' book on the Ottomans continues to be accepted and read. Wheatcroft, unfortunately, left his volume too much set in the attitudes of the early 1990s. It has become a period piece whose interpretations seem too much trapped by the fashion of his times.
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PaulCornelius | 2 other reviews | Apr 12, 2020 |
The Enemy at the Gate is a compelling account of the Siege of Vienna and its aftermath. The Ottoman defeat in 1683 marked the end of any serious threat to Western Europe, but it was not at all apparent that they would be defeated. Until, of course, they were. The author does a good job of setting the stage for the battle and provides a good general history of Eastern Europe and the almost constant war that took place there during the late medieval and early modern periods. I, for one, would not have enjoyed being Hungarian during that era. The end of the book feels a bit rushed, like the author was approaching a page limit, but still had a lot to cover and decided to squeeze it all in. But 7/8 of the book is good, informative reading, which is more than enough for 4 stars.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys European history, or wonders why some Europeans have hang-ups about Turkish immigration.
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inge87 | 8 other reviews | Jul 5, 2017 |
Nice easy-reading overview of the history of the Hapsburgs
M_Clark | 3 other reviews | Apr 26, 2016 |



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