15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
sweeping epic story, dynamic narrative history, 26 Aug. 2005
"Osman's Dream" is that rare thing, a work of groundbreaking history that is also extremely timely. This book is crucial for anyone seeking to understand relations between East and West or the place of the Turkish republic in the world today. The epic story of the Ottomans from their origins in the steppes of Central Asia to their occupation of much of Europe, this is the first book to uncover the empire's own dynamic history. The book shimmers with the splendour of the imperial court at a time when European nations were barely emerging from backwoods primitivism. Multiracial, multicultural, multinational, for much of its history the Ottoman empire exceeded Europe in religious tolerance and cultural richness. Caroline Finkel's beautifully written narrative challenges from the ground up the orthodoxies and stereotypes that haunt popular views of the Ottomans and the Turks. Everybody who was fascinated by the "Turks" exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts (2005) should buy and read this book. It is a sophisticated synthesis of the best new scholarship and original archival research, with lessons for today's contentious nationalisms at every turn.