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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 3 July 2005
"The Great Siege" is a fascinating study of the events surrounding the attempt in 1565 by the Moslem Turks to conquer Malta ,drive out the Christian Knights of St John and establish an Islamic hegemony over the Mediterranean ,with a view to using the island as a base for further expansion into Southern Europe. The book is written almost in the style of a novel with the narrative unfolding around the central characters Jean de la Vallette, the Knight's Grandmaster and Mustapha Pasha, the Commander of the Turkish Army ."The Great Siege" is completely absorbing and it conveys successfully the fanaticism and heroism of the participants.I was amazed at the courage and defiance shown by the Knights and their Maltese allies as they refused to bow to the superior numbers and firepower of the Turkish invaders first at St Elmo, whose resistance was unbelievable ,then at Senglea and Birgu. For four months the Knights held on against the Turks who had thought it would have been all over within four weeks, eventually demoralising them and forcing them to return home defeated. The book gives a blow by blow account of the Siege and provides details of the strategies and tactics of the respective military commanders."The Great Siege" is a remarkable true story and, looking back, its outcome is one of the great "What If's" of history. If the Turks had taken Malta, would swathes of Southern Europe have fallen to the Moslems and led to a very different geo-political landscape than that of today ? Their defeat by "The Incredibles", La Vallette's Knights and the Maltese, stung the Turks and destroyed their aura of invincibility -and they did it on their own, with no relief from outside. "The Great Siege" is a tale of individual heroism and collective bravery, of an immense religious and cultural conflagration and of a lionhearted people preferring martyrdom and death to submission.
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