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Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, 1453 [Anglais] [Broché]

Roger Crowley
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Description de l'ouvrage

18 avril 2013
Now in trade paperback, a gripping exploration of the fall of Constantinople and its connection to the world we live in today

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 signaled a shift in history, and the end of the Byzantium Empire. Roger Crowley's readable and comprehensive account of the battle between Mehmed II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and Constantine XI, the 57th emperor of Byzantium, illuminates the period in history that was a precursor to the current jihad between the West and the Middle East.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Descriptions du produit

Biographie de l'auteur

Roger Crowley was born in England and studied English at Cambridge University. After university, he taught English in Istanbul where he developed his interest in the city and its history. He has traveled widely throughout Turkey, including three journeys on foot across Western Anatolia, and has a working knowledge of Turkish. For the past fifteen years he has worked as a successful educational publisher for Nelson Thornes in Cheltenham, England. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 320 pages
  • Editeur : Faber & Faber (18 avril 2013)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0571298206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571298204
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,6 x 12,6 x 2,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 63.456 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 A QUAND LE PROCHAIN LIVRE ? 1 août 2009
Format:Relié
JE NE SUIS QU'UN SIMPLE ENSEIGNANT DE LANGUES AVEC UNE PASSION POUR TOUTES SORTES DE LIVRES ,DES BANDES DESSINEES SUR BLEK LE ROC AUX ROMANS DE HARLAN COBEN MAIS MA VRAIE PASSION EST L'HISTOIRE,UNE PASSION QU'UN AUTRE ENSEIGNANT M'A DONNEE IL Y A 30 LONGUES ANNEES.PENDANT LONGTEMPS,MES SUJETS DE PREDILECTION TOURNAIENT AUTOUR DE L'EPOPEE NAPOLEONIENNE ET LA PREMIERE GUERRE MONDIALE.PUIS J'AI DECOUVERT UN PETIT CHEF D OEUVRE :THE FIRST CRUSADE DE THOMAS ASBRIDGE QUI M'A OUVERT DE NOUVEAUX HORIZONS ( J'AI D'AILLEURS HATE D ACHETER SON DERNIER BOUQUIN THE CRUSADES QUI SORTIRA EN DECMBRE 2009 ).
C'EST LA QU'ENTRE EN SCENE M.CROWLEY.JE N'AVAIS ANCUN INTERET POUR L'HISTOIRE DES DERNIERS JOURS DE CONSTANTINOPLE MAIS J'EN SUIS SORTI TOTALEMENT ANEANTI DE BONHEUR ET DE RECONNAISSANCE,INCROYABLEMENT IMPRESSIONNE PAR LE SUJET ET SURTOUT PAR LA PROSE DE CET HISTORIEN.
C'EST UN LIVRE ABSOLUMENT MAGNIFIQUE ET JE SUIS DEJA CONVAINCU QUE SON DEUXIEME BOUQUIN EMPIRES OF THE SEA QUE JE SUIS EN TRAIN DE DEVORER,NE ME LAISSERA PAS NON PLUS SUR MA FAIM!
MON DIEU,QUEL TALENT. MERCI M.CROWLEY.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  113 commentaires
122 internautes sur 130 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Pivotal Moment in the History of a Great City 29 octobre 2005
Par Timothy Haugh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Byzantium. Constantinople. Istanbul. Intellectually, it is easy enough to remember that these three cities are in fact the same, sitting on the Bosphorus, straddling the border between Europe and the East. However, it is difficult to get a visceral feel for the fact that the current city of mosques and minarets was for over a millennia one of the centers of the Christian world. Fortunately, there is a book like 1453 to take us back and let us experience how such a transformation takes place.

In his book, Mr. Crowley takes us back to the year of the title, when Sultan Mehmet II, a man barely out of his teens but who has survived the intrigues that barred his way to the throne, lays siege to Constantinople. Despite the fact that the city has resisted sieges many times before thanks to its natural water defenses and ancient western wall, Mehmet is willing to take the risk. Constantine XI, the aging emperor who guards the city, is weak and his city and empire is only a shadow of its former glory. So, Mehmet gathers his armies and vassals and heads to the walls.

Overall, Mr. Crowley's descriptions of the siege are absorbing. He points out the very important advantages that Mehmet had over previous would-be conquerors: he brings cannon and a navy. The walls of Constantinople were impregnable to a classic mediaeval attack but the arrival of gunpowder to the West and the development of cannon made the walls vulnerable. Plus, no attacker had ever brought a navy to bear on the city before and its very existence cut off the possibility of resupplying the city, making a successful siege a possibility.

But Mehmet's victory was by no means assured and, in fact, he could have easily failed. His guns could only fire a few salvos a day and his navy was basically outclassed had his enemies ever being willing to meet him directly in battle. The lengthening siege made it difficult to manage his vast armies. Plus, the city was defended. Mr. Crowley shows great respect for the defenders of the city, their strategies and valor. As Mehmet's guns brought down sections of the wall, the citizens of Constantinople would sneak out at night and rebuild. Down to the last battle, the people of Constantinople seemed to believe their city could not fall.

Of course, fall it did. Mr. Crowley quickly gives us the final successful push into the city which, be it through luck or valor, went to the Turks in hours once the walls were breached. As Mehmet enters the city we get to see both the good and bad of a city defeated in the Middle Ages, mercy and spoils, revenge and glory. And we get a brief account of the spread of the news through the West and its effect on subsequent history.

All in all, this account of an important moment in the history of the Western world is a great read. It is informative and insightful, managing to build tension and excitement despite the fact that the reader knows the outcome. And Mr. Crowley's fairness to both the Christian defenders and the Turkish conquerors makes it palatable and not strident. There is no doubt that this defeat after 1000 years of successful defense was a tragic time but this fading star of the Christian world rises to become the center of the Muslim world, maintaining its glory for centuries more. This city deserves its story to be told.
130 internautes sur 150 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "There is no prince who has his armies and camps in better order." 22 août 2005
Par Ian Shumaker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
When I was a young Infantry officer, I recall a tactical instructor telling us that,"The best defence is only as good as the willingness of an enemy to make the necessary sacrifices to overcome it." I can think of few better examples of this principle than the Ottoman siege of Constantinople. I have read many books about this event and in my opinion "1453" by Roger Crowley is far-and-away the best. The book is chock-full of interesting facts about the siege and where the facts are unclear, Crowley (like Herodotus) gives us the opposing stories and lets us decide. In addition "1453" is a very readable, fast-paced history. It's one of the few history books I've read where I can honestly say I wished it was much longer. It's like an excellent novel but it's all true and a heartbreaking story to boot. I just wish I'd been able to read it before my visit to Istanbul earlier this year. I'd have kept it at my side.
38 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Two Perspectives of one, earth-shattering event 23 avril 2007
Par Thomas Quinn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The historian brings people to life by telling the story of their historical times - illuminating them and their deeds, judiciously treating that which he is not certain of. The novelist brings history to life by telling the stories of the people who lived it - real and imagined, creatively (and judiciously, one hopes) filling in history's voids.

Further, as Napoleon said, "history is the agreed version of events by the victors." Before photographs and sound/picture recording, much of what is taken as historical fact can be disputed. With all that in mind, Roger Crowley has done a commendable job. What gives me the right to say so? Well, I have encountered the very same task!

I am a novelist and my first book, "The Lion of St. Mark (St. Martin's Press, 2005), was written before I read Roger Crowley's 1453. I only wish I had had it by my side when I was toiling over disputing sources as I wrote my fictional (but historically accurate, I trust) account of the great siege of Constantinople and what happened afterwards.

I appreciate his decision to go with his gut when versions of what happened irreconcilably collide and avoid the use "perhaps", "possibly", and "might have", which can drag historical story-telling to a crawl.

Crowley's style is highly readable and skillfully blends history with many illustrative anecdotes to bring the siege to life. Who could not feel the courage and fears of the Christians and the Ottomans as they fought and bled in the fosse and on the walls in their supreme struggle?

Like the old Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy, their contest presaged the modern-day technological battle in the Battle of the North Atlantic that saw the Allies and Germans constantly one-up each other as each strove to gain supremacy.

Traditional histories suffer from the readers' knowledge of how things end. Only first-rate historians are able to "make it read like a novel" to maintain the suspense and show, as Wellington said after Waterloo, that it really was, "a near run thing."

I understand from his website that Crowley's next work will detail the continuing struggle between the Ottomans and the West that culminated in the epic battle of Lepanto in 1571 and a decisive Christian victory.

I'll definitely buy it before beginning my third novel in my Venetians series. Thank you, Roger!
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A gripping story, well-told 3 novembre 2005
Par Yankee Dave - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Although military history is one of my favorite subjects, books on military history often fall into one of two traps: either they lay out their subject in mind-numbingly dry detail, or they present an entertaining narrative at the expense of the facts. If you agree, then I can happily report that "1453" is a delightful surprise, for rarely do history books of any sort combine scholarship, good writing and a compelling story as well as this one. Roger Crowley weaves together a number of story lines - the Ottoman fixation with Constantinople, the various obstacles to cooperation between Byzantium and the West, and developments in military technology, to name a few - into a seamless narrative that moves forward as propulsively and inexorably as the Turkish advance on the great city itself. The writing is so good that even though I knew how the "story" would end, I found myself in suspense, as Crowley managed to convey a sense of immediacy and uncertainty about the final outcome until almost the very end. Despite the wealth of information provided (which is documented with endnotes), I also never found myself overwhelmed by data or bogged down in minutiae. Crowley unfolds the big picture clearly, yet without sacrificing detail about the various armies and personalities involved. Contrary to what a previous reviewer said, I also did not pick up any sense of pro-Islam or anti-Western bias. Crowley makes no attempt to gloss over Mehmet II's ruthlessness or the savage nature of the fighting on both sides. Constantine XI also comes across as one of the most sympathetic, if tragic, figures in the book. If you're at all interested in the fall of Constantinople, military history, or Islamic-Christian relations, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It's an epic story filled with memorable figures, and is unlikely to be better told than it is here.
396 internautes sur 513 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Better written P.R. than most. 19 septembre 2005
Par Clubbeaux - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Living in Istanbul and working as a journalist, as I did for years, and living on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast as I do now I've run across individuals such as Mr. Crowley -- although I've never met him to my knowledge. Europeans -- oddly, particularly Brits -- who are attracted to Turkey and its history, its people and culture and self-generated mythology and who seek to, in some way, identify with it, or at least appoint themselves its expositors to more benighted cultures, such as (fill in home country).

Mr. Crowley's a good writer, let's be clear about that. He does take what could be a dry subject and write in clear, easy prose without condescending to his reader. Thankfully he avoids the novelist's style, which is inappropriate to the subject and which in my estimation rarely adds lucidity or "readability" to military history, he does well to avoid it here. Think William Manchester or Barbara Tuchman for the style.

But he's clearly not a scholar. Not that you have to be to take up a pen to write history, William Shirer wasn't a scholar yet his history of Nazi Germany has not been improved upon. What Mr. Crowley is, however, is an apologist for the Turkish-Islamic cultural myth.

It's clear by about page 20 that Mr. Crowley has no patience for the Byzantines, their religion, culture or empire. He speaks of them with barely-concealed contempt, and writes admiringly, almost fawningly of the Islamic armies which defeated them. At times his lack of objectivity is embarrassing -- he uses the term "martyr" to describe Muslims who die in combat, and he unquestioningly repeats the discredited canards that Balkan and European peasantry preferred Islamic to Christian rule. He adopts only the most superficial and derogatory to the West interpretation of the Crusades, and is clearly unfamiliar with Bernard Lewis, Bat Ye'or or Paul Fregosi's scholarship -- an unforgiveable omission for someone sitting down to write a history of 1453.

At times his almost dewy-eyed admiration for the Islamic armies at the heart of the Turkish Islamic myth overwhelms his good sense -- page 32: "The laws of Islam required mercy to conquered peoples [Right, like the laws of America require adherence to a speed limit]... No attempt was made to convert Christians, who formed the bulk of the population, to Islam..." Page 33: "A levy of Christian youths was taken [by the Islamic sultan] at regular intervals, converted to Islam..."

Later on the same page: "But to Christians watching the process from afar, it evoked rigid horror... the prospect of turning captured Christian children against Christians was fiendish and inhuman. It was to form a powerful ingredient in the myth of the Savage Turk."

I'd say "fiendish" and "inhuman" are pretty accurate adjectives for the practice of forcing slaves to go to war for their captors, yes.

Note that, the "myth" of the savage Turk, which as Mr. Crowley correctly notes was the shorthand for the Islamic forces conquering the historically Christian lands. Again, Mr. Crowley unavails himself of some less "mythological" reasons why Europeans might have considered the Islamic armies savage:

Muslim historian Ibn al-Athir (1160-1233) in his The Complete History, on the Islamic invasion of Spain and France in the eighth and ninth centuries, writes "In 177 [17 April 793] Hisham, [Muslim] prince of Spain, sent a large army... into enemy territory, and which made forays as far as Narbonne and Jaranda [Gerona]... For several months [the army] traversed this land in every direction, raping women, killing warriors, destroying fortresses, burning and pillaging everything..."

Bat Ye'or, in the highly-respected 1996 book The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam writes "Sophronius [Bishop of Jerusalem]... bewailed the destruction of churches and monasteries, the sacked towns, the fields laid waste, the villages burned down by the [Muslims] who were overrunning the country. In a letter the same year to Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, he mentions the ravages wrought by the Arabs. Thousands of people perished in 639, victims of the famine and plague that resulted from these destructions."

I could go on and on -- Ye'or reproduces an eyewitness to the Islamic armies conquering the Egyptian Christian town of Nikiou: "They seized the town and slaughtered everyone they met in the street and in the churches - men, women and children, sparing nobody. Then they went to other places, pillaged and killed all the inhabitants they found..."

The pattern was repeated, as Constantinoplians had good reason to fear, when their city was taken in 1453. Steven Runciman, the preeminent historian of the Crusades, reports that Muslim soldiers hewing to the by now well-established pattern "slew everyone that they met in the streets, men, women and children without discrimination. The blood ran in rivers down the steep streets from the heights of Petra toward the Golden Horn."

All this is carefully airbrushed out of Mr. Crowley's book, in which the final taking of the city is described in the most bloodless yet gloating terms possible, and here he can't even pretend to keep his bias under wraps -- on page 239 he laments that the fall of the city "was just the start of a huge renewal of anti-Islamic sentiment." This is so ludicrous, to blame the victims of military conquest for being "anti" their bloody conquerors, as to beggar honest belief.

In the end the book is useful only insofar as someone is curious about what a pro-Islamic, anti-West non-scholar would daydream what happened in 1453, with noble, benevolent Islamic heroes, some of whom were cruelly martyred by the evil Western Christians opposing their glorious destiny, marching in to succor a city wracked by Christian malfeasance and ignorance... you can write the rest, can't you?
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