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on 13 July 2016
Although the end of the siege seems inevitable from the start Crowley paints a detailed picture of events showing how close things came to going the other way against all odds.

The politics of the time, in all it craziness, is shown in detail with history and myth making both sides behave in often unexpected ways.

Mehmet comes across as a surprisingly modern ruler in some ways, trying to build an empire but a surprisingly tolerant one, Muslim at its core but almost secular in its outlook and treatment of other cultures and religions.

Crowley shows us all the main players, in as much detail as reliable accounts can give, and takes us through the tactics and difficulties faced by both sides as they balance religion and warfare.

It is an thoroughly interesting read but not as compelling as some of his others.
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on 14 October 2012
I've read many books about Byzantium, from it's beginnings to it's late period but I've never actually read about it's death throws, until now. I've read some good books and some thoroughly dull books, written by obviously very knowledgeable people, but that doesn't always make for a good read. But this book is written by an obviously very knowledgeable writer, using all available sources from the Christian and Islamic sides. And I do stress the word "writer", because the author obviously knows his subject inside out and writes in a style that is packed with facts and information, but somehow doesn't let the book get weighed down with them and keeps it lively and moves the story along with just the right pace. I think this is a wonderful book and along with John Julius Norwich is the most interesting book I have read on the subject. Hats off to the writer. I would recommend "Constantinople: The last great siege, 1453" to anyone who is interested in history or just a great (and tragic {depending on who's side you're on}) story.
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on 1 October 2013
Got it just before my arrival in Istanbul. this is an incredible read, Crowley writes like a modern Homer as he recounts the final days of the Byzantine empire. very informative giving you a detailed account of the time leading yo to the siege and as it progressed, the whole affair was a lot closer run then i had expected. Crowley doesn't stop at just describing the ed and flow of the battle but describes it truly in a hormeric sense and he try's to allow the reader imagine what may have been going through the minds of those involved, get a picture of what he scene looked like, sounded like and even smelled like. well recommended for the history enthusiast.
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on 21 August 2014
I'm more than content to add another 5-star review to the list. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish from the moment I picked it up.

Read from cover-to-cover quite quickly and easily, so that I put it down for a few months, then picked it up and re-read a few selected chapters again. So for me it's a 'keeper' as well as a good entry book to this particular part of history - a resonant moment in the history of West and East where the impact of this climatic event remains with us today five-and-a-half centuries later.

Well recommended, especially if you use this as the start of your study into this period.
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on 8 November 2012
I must be honest - this book pushed me for a trip to Constantinopole which is very unusual for me. The story grasped me , the way the naration is led. I am not a historian and this a second book about the great fall so cant really judge the accuracy but for my needs the information is sufficient and the dramatic way of portraying the events changed this book into page turner. Imagine next month I was watching the city walls from the ferry in Golden Horn --- goose bums. BUY it.
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on 1 February 2015
Great book on pivotal event in European history. Well written, as are all Mr Crowley's informed histories, making this series hard to put down for history lovers. Essential education for understanding the structure of the Europe we live in today and a welcome diversion from the trivia of TV.
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on 14 November 2012
Having read Crowley's other books (Empires of the Sea and City of Fortune) my expectations were sky-high so I should have been in for a disappointment. Not so. There is absolutely nothing not to like about Crowley's style. Like the other ones, 'the last great siege' is simply unputdownable. Let's hope Crowley is diligently working on another epic tale...
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on 26 March 2014
Having recently visited Istanbul I was recommended this book to read about the Otterman siege of Christian Constantinople.
It is a brilliantly detailed account of the siege that gives a real sense of the history that drove both sides.
The details of the ebb and flow of the siege are described with pace and well researched detail such that you feel gripped by the events and the fortunes of the people involved on both sides.
Highly recommended!
One slight issue is the size of the print in the book which is small but not such that it prevents enjoyment of the book
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on 14 December 2012
This exceptional and rather haunting book details the events at the very end of Christian Contantinople. The author manages to construct a very compelling narrative from the highly confusing and sometimes extremely unreliable sources that remain. It was interesting that all the way through the book the balance of my sympathies were with the plucky Greeks et al led by Emperor Constantantine - a decent man in a hopeless situation. I guess that is from my inate British support for the underdog. I did waiver in the face of their religious bigotry and petty squabbling and actually by the end I thought the Turks were the heroes. The City they created in Istanbul was infinitely more dynamic and tolerant than Constantinople had been. Mehmet, the Sultan emerges as an incredible character with both breathtaking erudition and cruelty as well as astounding organisational skills.
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on 6 April 2016
Vivid and clear depiction of the historical events leading up to the fall of Constantinople.
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