Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 13 November 2005
I bought this book to prepare my trip to Istanbul. On the one hand I can only agree that the book is full of very interesting details about life in Istanbul after 1453. On my subsequent sightseeing I realised that the book had indeed given me a lot of background knowledge about what I was seeing and it certainly helped me make the sights come alive. (Also, by the way, I read it just before reading Orhan Pamuk's brilliant novel "My name is Red" and it almost seemed like Mansel's book was what had inspired Pamuk's description of life at the Sultan's court in the 1590's.)
But on the other hand, I found that the author's cumbersome style and the lack of an apparent structure of the text sometimes make it tedious and unsatisfying to read. And in order to really benefit from the book, the reader should definitely have a pretty good grasp of Ottoman history before reading this.