14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
An enjoyable read, though tricky to follow at times., 28 Nov. 2009
Like many other readers, I purchased "Osman's Dream" to gain an understanding of a once vast and powerful Empire that I knew relatively little of, eager to understand how its long history still impacts upon the present day tensions in Balkans and relations between the West and Muslims. To this extent I found the wars with Austria and Russia to be the most enjoyable aspects of the book, although in some places they are described all too briefly. A large part of the book is dedicated to the politics of the Porte and, whilst all the intrigue can be fascinating, at times I found myself struggling to keep up with who was who, though this can partly be atributed to a Westerner's difficulty keeping track of dozens of Islamic personalities rather than any fault in Mrs Finkel's story telling. What did disapoint me however, was the lack of social history, and the ordinary life of Ottoman subjects can at times feel neglected. Hopefully the increase in interest in Ottoman history will rectify this over the coming years.
I also felt that more maps sprinkled throughout the text would be beneficial as, whilst relatively comfortable with the European campaigns, at times it was difficult to gain an understanding of the Ottomans' wars on their eastern frontiers without having to consult with additional