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1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West (2005)

by Roger Crowley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0182217,089 (4.04)17
In the spring of 1453, the Ottoman Turks advanced on Constantinople in pursuit of an ancient Islamic dream: capturing the thousand-year-old capital of Christian Byzantium. During the siege that followed, a small band of badly organised defenders, outnumbered ten to one, confronted the might of the Ottoman army in a bitter contest fought on land, sea and underground, and directed by two remarkable men - Sultan Mehmet II and the Emperor Constantine XI. In the fevered religious atmosphere, heightened by the first massed use of artillery bombardment, both sides feared that the end of the world was nigh. The outcome of the siege, decided in a few short hours on 29 May 1453, is one of the great set-piece moments of world history.… (more)
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» See also 17 mentions

English (21)  Dutch (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Bibliography: p. 283. Includes index.
  TorontoOratorySPN | Aug 31, 2022 |
Engaging style, but plays fast and loose, e.g. Constantinople's interactions with Rome, concurrent events in Europe, and especially with terminology like "rifles", "muskets", "galleys", which a serious historian would not have done. Decent and readable though. ( )
  ShaneTierney | May 20, 2022 |
Even though you know what happened, the how it happened will keep you coming back . ( )
  klrabbit58 | May 3, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this. It's a good narrative of a time period I didn't have a lot of familiarity to begin with, and it manages to give enough baseline information for a newbie in an engaging way while moving the story along. Loved how 1453 covers political, warfare tactics, religious implications and culture seamlessly. ( )
  fidgetyfern | Feb 23, 2021 |
A fine, if at times sensationalistic, recounting of the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman armies in 1453. Crowley largely limits himself to telling the narrative of events, based on the various (at times unreliable or contradictory) written sources by eyewitnesses or contemporary historians. A richer book would have looked at the why as well as the what, exploring the structural factors behind the rise of the Ottomans from disaster a mere generation before (when they were crushed by Tamerlane), behind the Byzantine decline, behind the Italian presence in the east, etc. But 1453 wasn't bad for lacking this, merely less deep than it could have been. Read this to get the story and look elsewhere for the meaning. ( )
1 vote dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roger Crowleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Roca, Joan EloiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A red apple invites stones (Turkish proverb)
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For Jan with love, wounded at the sea wall in pursuit of the siege.
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Early spring. A black kite swings on the Istanbul wind. It turns lazy circles round the Suleymaniye mosque as if tethered to the minarets. From here it can survey a city of fifteen million people, watching the passing of days and centuries through imperturbable eyes.
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In the spring of 1453, the Ottoman Turks advanced on Constantinople in pursuit of an ancient Islamic dream: capturing the thousand-year-old capital of Christian Byzantium. During the siege that followed, a small band of badly organised defenders, outnumbered ten to one, confronted the might of the Ottoman army in a bitter contest fought on land, sea and underground, and directed by two remarkable men - Sultan Mehmet II and the Emperor Constantine XI. In the fevered religious atmosphere, heightened by the first massed use of artillery bombardment, both sides feared that the end of the world was nigh. The outcome of the siege, decided in a few short hours on 29 May 1453, is one of the great set-piece moments of world history.

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