3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe (Paperback)
It is surprising to see how many critical reviews 'The Enemy at the Gate' got. Probably it attracts a highly intelligent readership with exacting standards.
As far as I am concerned, this is a truly great book. There is a lot of context (little-known Austro-Turkish conflicts in the centuries before and after 1683 are well treated), but most importantly the author brings the story alive very well - one can really imagine how it would be to walk with the huge Turkish army from Istanbul to Vienna, or to be one of the brave defenders of the city, desperately fighting on ruined ramparts against all-out Turkish attacks. The author's only annoying habit is his zeal in trying to be politically correct by arguing - against compelling evidence to the contrary - that both sides were equally cruel. This hardly detracts from what is otherwise a doubleplusgood book. Oh - one final comment: I would really like to understand why the Ottomans always walked from Istanbul to the front - why couldn't they just set up a base much closer to their enemies & extend the effecive campaign time by a few critical months? Wheatcroft does not provide the answer, and neither does any other author I have consulted on the subject. Too bad.