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Greece, the Hidden Centuries: Turkish Rule from the Fall of Constantinople to Greek Independence [Hardcover]

David Brewer
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Feb 2010
For almost four hundred years, between the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the Greek War of Independence, the history of Greece is shrouded in mystery: distorted by Greek writers and largely neglected by others. What was life really like for the Greeks under Ottoman rule? Was it a period of unremitting exploitation and enslavement for the Greeks until they were finally able to rise up against their Turkish overlords, as is the traditional, Greek nationalistic view? Or did the Greeks derive some benefit from Turkish rule? How did the Greeks and Turks co-exist for so long? And why are Greek attitudes towards Venice, who also controlled much of Greece for many of these years, so different? In this wide-ranging yet concise history David Brewer explodes many of the myths about Turkish rule of Greece. He places the Greek story in its wider, international context and casts fresh light on the dynamics of power not only between Greeks and Ottomans but also between Muslims and Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, throughout Europe. This absorbing and riveting account of a crucial period will ensure that the history of Greece under Turkish rule is no longer hidden. It will delight anyone with an interest in Greek and Turkish history and in how the past has shaped the Greece we know today.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris Publishers (20 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848850476
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848850477
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'David Brewer's book is by far the best work that I have read on the Turkokrateia, the hidden centuries when what is now Greece was under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. His book is thoroughly researched and very well written, and it opens up for the general reader a fascinating and little known era of history. Highly recommended.' --John Freely

'This is the story of seven centuries of Greek life before Greece became a modern, self-governing nation in the early nineteenth century, told for a new generation and from both the secular and religious viewpoints of the emerging nation. David Brewer writes with verve, a sharp eye for detail, and a finely balanced sense of the moral uncertainties involved in looking back into the past from the point of view of the early twenty-first century.' --Roderick Beaton, Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, King's College London

'Greece, the Hidden Centuries will remain a classic study for many yeras to come. No other author has trawled such depth of detail so profitably over so wide an area for such a long passage of time.' --Alan Palmer, author of 'The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire'

About the Author

David Brewer is the author of 'The Flame of Freedom: The Greek War of Independence, 1821-1833'. After studying Classics at Oxford University he divided his working life between teaching, journalism and business before dedicating himself to the study of the history of Grece.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 4 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover
As a Historian and avid reader , you often find books on history written in a style quite rigid and and academic where the authors are constantly trying to prove their intellect.These books I find extremely disappointing and dont usually finish them.However David Brewer has written brilliantly on a topic extremely difficult and quite contraversial in perspective,Greece under Turkish- Ottoman rule. Very well researched,in a very readable conversational style I enjoyed every chapter and was eager to finish the book.Balanced perspectives were presented from a large cross-section of primary and secondary sources, and all aspects of Greek life were tackled (social,economic,education,class ,religion etc )not limiting his research to primarily political issues. I liked the fact that details such as health ,dress, and dayly activities were discussed ,attention was given to the different regions -mainland Greeced and the islands ,giving the reader an excellent perspective of what happened during these 400 years . What a wonderful book with an effort of genuineness and honesty about the times!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New light on a dark era 24 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover
A very authoritative, well-written history of Greece in the middle ages.

Given the paucity of original source material, it was great to read a book that was so well researched and brought all the parts together in a fascinating narrative.

Highly recommended for anyone with any interest in this less well-travelled part of Greek history.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HIDDEN HISTORY AND A WONDERFUL BOOK ! 11 Oct 2012
By pete clack TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I study Greek history and certainly have several books about it, this oine though covers a period I didn't know too much about detail wise.Over it's pages this is a revelation of facts, both good mixed with some pretty aweful information, in the sense of the way battles and retrobution are carried out.Here we see the Turks,the Venicians and the Albanians giving the people of Greece a very tough time as their land was fought over, their way of life,education,the way they despersed to other coutries, the way they lived,what they fought for,the price paid.The key that islands like Cyprus and Crete played throughout the camlaigns.
This truly is so well written,not a stodgy text book but a flowing story of a period of history that I believe had a vast effect on the whole of europe even into today.
In the cover notes on this book it's clear that writer David Brewer has exploded many of the myths about Turkish rule in Greece.He puts the whole story in a much wider context and brings fresh insight to this whole period beginning in 1453 with the fall of Constantinolble to 1821 and the war of Independance.It truly is so well written it brings to life the period covered,the people,the leaders, and its effect on history over a very long space of time.
It's not often you get in books on history one that's wriiten with a movinbg and such flowing narrative, a book I know I'll ciome back to and read again and again.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing alternative view of the Tourkokratia! 25 Aug 2011
By Philip
Format:Hardcover
It is obvious that many Greeks including some reviewers on Amazon.com cannot abide any work that attempts to contradict or challenge the official Greek view of the Ottoman occupation period as one where the Ottomans were slave driving imperial Moslem demons, and the Greeks were a put down people heroically fighting to preserve Hellensim under the Turkish yoke for 400 years until the 'Great Victory' of 1821... Yes I grew up with that as well...

Well thank God for David Brewer, who I have communicated with on Greek issues. He is a very honourable man, a Classics graduate so he can read Greek, a staunch philhellene, but not uncritical. Contrary to the emotional outburst of 'Derivative' from the Amazon.com reviewer Eleni, I can confirm that his research was both original and unique and that he was aware of the response his work might provoke in Greece. He has the courage to go behind the rhetoric and propaganda. My understanding of his basic arguments is as follows;

1. The Tourkokratia was not as oppressive as made out because the Ottomans were pragmatic admistrators.
2. That the Greeks after Byzantium and intervening medieval Frankish and Italian invasions were a wretched population, basically ignorant and superstitious, and many Greeks in business and commerce actually thrived under conditions of Ottoman stability.
3. Greeks in 1821 were barely capable of mounting a revolution, certainly required both foreign help and Great Good Fortune to succeed in one and that 1821 to quote Wellington about Waterloo was a 'damn close run thing'. Greeks needed Westerners to tell them about their distant past having no idea of what the ruins were about at all.

The book is an eye opener for those with open minds and a thirst for Real History!

Thank you David Brewer for a wonderfully enjoyable, and superbly and courageously enlightening work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only one of its kind 9 Mar 2014
By Mr. Nj Mcallister VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very comprehensive account of this period. The only one that I am aware of and I found it very objective and fairly detailed bearing in mind the length of time the author covers. I think its worth reading if you want to fill the gap between the fall of Constantinople and modern Greece. For that is something that this book does very well
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