For hundreds of years the vast Ottoman Empire, spanning countries and cultures, was a multicultural and progressive force compared to other regions of its day.
At a time of religious conflict and persecution in Europe, other religions could practise their faiths so long as they paid respect and the appropriate taxes to the Sultan. Great libraries, including the texts of the Ancient Greeks, were set up attracting scholars from all parts of the empire. The Janissaries, made up of troops from all parts of the Empire, was the most feared fighting force of its day.
This book is a wonderful introduction to all of this. It details the rise of the Empire, the fall of Constantinople and the eventual decline in wonderful detail.
I read this book because I felt I didn't understand enough about this great empire that lasted right up to the twentieth century. If you feel you too could understand more about it I commend this book to you.
There were some minor issues with the book. It is very much a great man version of history, with women playing very little part especially in the first part of the book, and little discussion about the typical lives of people in the empire as it evolved.
Still, I really enjoyed reading it, and the epic and sometimes strange history of the Ottoman Sultans I think will leave you amazed.