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The Siege of Malta, 1565: Translated from the Spanish edition of 1568 (0) (First Person Singular) Paperback – 19 Jan 2011
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This is a carefully-presented, well-translated and well-edited book, with an excellent commentary to accompany the original source documents. (...) Thanks are due to Boydell Press for making this serious academic publication available. BRITISH BULLETIN OF PUBLICATIONSWill serve as a useful primary source for undergraduates and as well as for scholars. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNALAn extremely welcome reprint...of a seminal work on the subject and the prime reference source for all those who have written about the 1565 siege. An extremely readable account. CASEMATE
This is a carefully-presented, well-translated and well-edited book, with an excellent commentary to accompany the original source documents. (...) Thanks are due to Boydell Press for making this serious academic publication available. BRITISH BULLETIN OF
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There might be better texts for a modern reader to get an overview of the political and diplomatic causes and consequences of the seige of Malta, but this will give you perhaps the best and most gripping account of how the seige progressed, and wonderfully immediate feel of how people there at the time felt and thought.
The seige itself is an incredible story of courage and fortitude, and of victory against seemingly overwhelming odds. Balbi's unsophisticated style brings out the astounding drama of the events, as well as being frequently intensely poignant when describing the suffering and loss of life he was a personal witness to. The translation flows well, and it is a gripping read, even after all these centuries.
On top of the human story, the technology plays an important part. Both sides used very innovative technology, and implemented extraordinary technical improvisations during the seige. Balbi is rightly very proud of the technical successes the Knights and the Maltese came up with. There is a very strong feeling of Renaissance progress and innovation in the tale.
This translation also comes with all the original illustrations, with the original key to them, showing several panoramic overviews of the progress of the seige. In addition, the modern editors have added a large number of more modern-style maps and diagrams that help make sense of the action and course of events. These are all useful, but it is interesting that as regards the layout of the crucial fortress of St. Elmo, the modern diagrams and the original pictures differ from each other, and both differ from Roger Crowley's description of the fortress in 'Empires of the Sea'.
This is the book to get for a dramatic account of the events of the seige itself, or if you want an immediate account of the battles and the tactics. For a broader, more complete account of the event in context, you might prefer a more general history-book account of it, but even then, this would be a very useful addition.
The author took part , albeit as a foot soldier , in the siege is this a very good translation from Spanish. The book was written a few years after the battle and contains mainly first hand impressions of the siege without too much political debate of the latter editions.
The paperback edition is not great and perhaps it will be better to invest a bit more for the hardback edition. The graphics from the forts help to understand the individual actions.
If one compares this book to Tim Pickles's ( published by osprey ) the latter as much better maps and is superbly illustrated but the former will help the reader to understand in great detail the dramatic actions that took place during the siege.
5 stars ( for Francisco Balbi )
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