Top critical review
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on 4 June 2013
Somewhat in line with Mehmet's life, of which about three quarters was spent campaigning, this book is mainly about his endless campaigns, from Albania to Anatolia and from Hungary to Greece.
The first part, about the rise of the Ottomans and the siege of Constantinople is quite good (although not nearly as good as Crowley's Siege of Constantinople); I also liked the final part where the Turks are actually entering Italy (you could see burning villages from the Campanile in Venice, and a Turkish invasion force briefly occupied some of the 'heel' of Italy at Otranto) & are only evicted because of a very unusual moment of christian solidarity and the death of Mehmet himself (again, the last part of Crowley's book about Venice which covers the same episode is better).
Most of the stuff in between is actually very repetitive, one siege after the next battle all against warlords that are forgotten & in places nobody has ever heard off. Then again, this was what Mehmet's life was all about. What kind of person he really was is probably not knowable given the scarcity of reliable sources. To conclude, on the plus side this book is pretty thorough (you do need your own atlas to follow the campaigns though) but the writing is unfortunately not the bestest ever.