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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somethings never change in Constantinople
In his book Mr. Mansel brings to light why all the great powers in the history wanted to control Constantinople and its hinterland. Their motives were not only politic but economic as well. All wanted Constantinople to be an open city.

By giving quotes from contemporary diplomatic corresspondances, accounts of travel writers and history books writen back then;...
Published on 11 Aug 2007 by Basar Eryoner

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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I received this book as a Christmas present, and was looking forward to reading this book, as I have an interest in the Eastern Roman Empire. However, I was to be disappointed by what I think was the poor way this book was written. The book follows a rigid, point followed by quote format that would probably earn a 16 year old a C in history- this makes reading the book...
Published 21 months ago by Flembotembo


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somethings never change in Constantinople, 11 Aug 2007
By 
Basar Eryoner "BasarEryoner" (Istanbul) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
In his book Mr. Mansel brings to light why all the great powers in the history wanted to control Constantinople and its hinterland. Their motives were not only politic but economic as well. All wanted Constantinople to be an open city.

By giving quotes from contemporary diplomatic corresspondances, accounts of travel writers and history books writen back then; he explains the power strugle behind the scenes.
Sultans ruled the city and the Ottoman empire but, who influenced them? Answer is in the book, Mothers, Eunuchs, dragomans, Pashas, Ambassadors. It clearly shows that when Mehmed conquered the city he adopted the Roman system. In fact he was the continuation of the Roman Empire.
After Pagan Rome (I) and Christian Rome (II), he established the third, Muslim, Rome. As money does not have any religion, the inhabitants of the city wanted to continue their trade and increase their wealthy under the new administration. Cons.ple continued to be the magnet for the rest of the world whether they were firends or foes.

The palace entriques, just like in Rome, continued until last day of the Ottoman empire. (and also it is still continuing today)to control the power and wealth.

The book also gives a good example of the modernization and democratization efforts in the Ottoman empire trying to catch up with Europe and the forces opposing it, which is still continuing today, too.

Mr. Mansel's knowledge on other dynasties of Europe and Midddle East adds a lot into the book. I would have enjoyed more extensive comparison between the other rulers of their times and ottoman sultans, which would help readers to evaluate; the Sultans, the Ottoman Empire, the city and its population, fairly as most of the time Ottoman Empire and its system is critisized on today's value system.

Super powers again wanted to control Istanbul and its hinterland by enforcing their value system. Each super power prefers that Istanbul should better be run by weak administrations rather than another rival super power fully controls it. And today, the history repeats itself.

Constantinople will be Constantinople (multi cultural, multi ethnic, indulgent, intriquing, passionate, full of conflicting interests) until the end of time as it is the city that everyone desires.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Byzantium endures, 21 Jun 2008
By 
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
With the conquest of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire, in many ways it was business as usual. Constantinople became an increasingly cosmopolitan and tolerant city throughout the Ottoman period and also increasingly westward looking, until it all started to go wrong in the lead up to the First World War, with violent nationalism on all sides leading into ethnic cleansing, not just in the 1920s but even beyond. I was surprised to learn in the epilogue that even as late as the mid-1950s there were still more than 100,000 Greeks still living in Istanbul, but (allegedly government supported) rioting forced most of them out.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it, and history like this should be read more widely. With Turkey's entry into the EU surely inevitable sooner or later despite misgivings about some of its nationalistic policies and political prosecutions, understanding Turkey and its past is more important than ever.

This book has given me an excellent insight into the social, cultural and political life of the city in the past half-millenium prior to my impending visit there. Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 25 Sep 2011
This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
A wonderful work by Philip Mansel. It is the first book of his that I have read and it really incites me to discover this author. His style of writing is precise and effortless. His historical research is perfect. The book is rich with anecdotes, details and he makes interesting comparisons. I was hooked by his fabulous story of Constantinople from the beginning. I absolutely recommend this book to all those who want to understand the history of this fascinating city.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
If you have visited Istanbul this will bring back many happy memories. If you have not it will encourage you to go there. A very detailed book which on every page is a delight....one of the very best travel/history books i have ever read. Now I have finished it I will start it again !
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting Book, 20 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
I am doing some family history research and this book offers an interesting insight, good price and very speedily delivered
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Istanbul Holiday, 4 May 2013
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This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
Hi,

Gave a real insight into the Istanbul story. Entertaining and informative.

Would recommend to anybody interested in the Ottoman empire.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 29 Sep 2012
This review is from: Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 (Paperback)
I received this book as a Christmas present, and was looking forward to reading this book, as I have an interest in the Eastern Roman Empire. However, I was to be disappointed by what I think was the poor way this book was written. The book follows a rigid, point followed by quote format that would probably earn a 16 year old a C in history- this makes reading the book like walking through quicksand in a suit of armour. The way the book is written is extremely unentertaining and it is also quite uninformative, for example; endless pages are devoted to the frivolities of gay janissaries, or describing the interior of a palace in excessive detail, while the whole of world War One or the Armenian genocide is casually summarised in little over one paragraph. You may, like me, have an interest in Constantinople, this will not make this book any less mind numbingly boring.
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Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924
Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924 by Philip Mansel (Paperback - 19 Oct 2006)
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