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What a strange book....
on 4 March 2003
I was looking for a comprehensive account of the history of the Ottoman Empire and I stepped into this book. This is a strange book. It is divided in chapters not in a chronological order, but rather by mixing up chronology and the exam of particular issues: quite strange and diverse issues, I must say, like sieges, dogs(!), houses, dresses...
Political and economic analysis are not made in depth, although the author makes here and there some very interesting remarks.On the other hand, the narration is full of funny (and sometimes scary) anecdotes, and actually the atmosphere of the Ottoman empire in its various phases is conveyed quite effectively. The chapters on the "cage", the harem and the early expansion of the Empire are excellent.
It's a good reading, in the end, althoug people looking for a serious, structured and reliable account of the empire should look elsewhere (Kinross?).
A final note: the language used by the author is very sophisticated and quite often (my mother tongue is not english) I've needed a dictionary....and sometimes I couldn't even find in the dictionary some of the nouns and adjectives used by the author!!