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Crescent and Cross: The Battle of Lepanto 1571 [Anglais] [Relié]

Hugh Bicheno


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In a sixteenth century crowded with events the passage of time has revealed to be extremely significant, one has received disproportionate attention. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 3.0 étoiles sur 5  10 commentaires
44 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Turkophilia Dementia 21 avril 2006
Par R. Zubrin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I give this book two stars because the parts about ships and weapons are passable. But the author's understanding of the nature of the conflict between Christianity and Islam approaches dementia. His Turkophilia exceeds all sane bounds.

According to Bicheno, the harem was actually "a welfare system for deserving young ladies," and the Ottoman custom of using the harem to produce large number of royal siblings, then murdering all but one, a highly superior method of arranging the succession. He claims that the Turkish custom ("dervisma") of systematic kidnapping Christian children from villages so that they could be converted and enslaved, far from being barbaric, was actually so beneficial to the Christians that those who lived in cities actually sent their children out to the villages so they could have an equal opportunity to be snatched. (I am NOT making this up.) He describes the Ottoman society as being "highly dynamic."

These ravings don't just occur here and there, but are a drumbeat, which only let up when he launches into diatribes against Western civilization in general and Catholicism in particular. In short, the book is mostly politically correct nonsense, taken to extremes.
36 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Snooze Fest 5 janvier 2006
Par Ottorio Bialli - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Mr. Bicheno seems rather impressed with his collection of facts and tidbits which he manages to jumble together in the most incoherent fashion.

I did not expect this work to be a running screed against Catholicism and Western Civilization in general. As an Ottoman apologist supreme, Mr. Bicheno continuously points out the shortcomings of Christendom, while ignoring the entire point of the necessity for this great Battle - Islamic Jihad!

Is it really too much to ask what the Ottomans/Muslims were doing penetrating into Greece and Europe in the first place? For a much better discussion of this topic, please see "The Legacy of Jihad" by Andrew Bostom.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Review, Hugh Bicheno's Crescent and Cross 6 juillet 2013
Par peter robertson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is a review of the first edition hardback of this title.

Once Hugh Bicheno finally gets to a description of the seminal 1571 Battle of Lepanto, he provides a lively survey of the action. However, I have to concur with other reviewers, who found that Bicheno has trouble in constructing a coherent, linear narrative to describe the people and events leading up to Lepanto. Stylistically, Bicheno at times comes across as a dilettante, his style sometimes falling to the level of a college sophomore English major - pretentious and long-winded. On a more substantive level - and as a great fan of JRR Tolkien it hurts for me to say this - I was disturbed by a lengthy (roughly 1 page) digression that Bicheno (writing at the time that the 'Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' film premiered) engages, drawing parallels between the 16th century that he writes about and the fictional 'legendarium' of Tolkien. While his points seem relevant, even spot-on, being as he compares apples and oranges (fiction versus history), it would have consigned his observations to, at most, an endnote.

I think a reader would be better served with either Ernle Bradford's 'The Great Siege' (which deals with an important precursor to Lepanto, the 1565 Great Siege of Malta) or Roger Crowley's excellent, and intelligible, 'Empires of the Sea', which comprehensively details both the Great Siege of 1565 and Lepanto.
7 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Impressive history but a difficult read 3 janvier 2007
Par Pieter Uys - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The narrative of this thorough and extensive work is divided in two: Iconic Battle and Military Battle. The first section deals with the Mediterranean in the 16th century (The Stage), ships and weapons (The Props), the empires, states, peoples and leaders of the time (The Players), international politics and role of the Catholic Church in the formation of the Holy League (Billboard). Part Two looks at the immediate background (Scene Setters), the campaign of 1570, the Ottoman offensive of 1571, the Holy League response and the details of the battle, concluding with an epilogue.

The book opens with a Chronology of rulers from 1500 to 1600 and important events from 1492 to 1600. Eight pages of colour plates include, inter alia, portraits of Don John, Sultan Selim II, Pius V, and various battle scenes by artists like Vasari, Vicentino, Veronese, Titian, Sebastian de Caster and Juan Luna. The 8 pages of black and white plates include the flagships of Ali Pasha, Don John Of Austria, various types of armor and weaponry, papal galleys and some battle scenes. In addition, there are three diagrams in the text: a depiction of a Venetian light galley, fortification systems and the decorative stern of Don Juan's galley La Real. Thirteen excellent maps enhance the text, focusing on relevant parts of the Mediterranean and Adriatic, on the Ottoman expansion into Europe, Africa and Asia, the 1570 and 1571 campaigns, the battle site at Navpaktos at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth, the deployment of ships and different stages of the battle.

The vast scope of the book encompasses discussions of culture, religion and representations of the famous clash in Christian art and iconography. Bicheno deals extensively with the myth and the legend in literature by discussing and quoting works by Cervantes, Felix Lope de Vega y Carpio, Luis Velez de Guevara, Shakespeare (Othello), Thomas Moravius, Fernando de Herrera, Alonso de Ercilla y Zuniga and of course GK Chesterton and his magnificent poem Lepanto. The account of the battle itself is quite detailed as Bicheno draws on all available sources (whilst evaluating them) to analyse the vessels, the weaponry, the tactics, the terrible carnage and the liberation of the Christian slaves.

The author is highly critical of Europe and the fractious Christendom of the time in his introduction. He compares the world of the 16th century with our own time and is a Eurosceptic (good) but a bit too repetitive in his assertions of the supposed tolerance and civilizational superiority of the Ottoman Empire against the supposed backwardness of Europe (bad). Bicheno insists time and again that the battle had no major military significance and that the Catholic Church largely nurtured the legend of the great Christian victory. In this, he does not fully convince. Yes, the Turks immediately rebuilt their navy but it was done in great haste to produce a ramshackle fleet that never again threatened the West.

What makes the writing difficult to enjoy, if not exhausting, are the frequent detours that the narrative takes into the events leading up to 1571. Instead of pursuing a thread from beginning to end, the author frequently digresses by smothering the reader with a plethora of minor events, details and personalities so that the plot does not unfold smoothly. This occurs frequently as he deals with flashpoints of the conflict in Malta, Cyprus, Crete, Tunis, Djerba and along the Dalmatian coast. It really makes your head spin if you seek a linear progression of events.

The four appendices discuss the principal actors, the estimate of forces, orders of battle and casualties. There are 5 pages of bibliographic endnotes, a complete bibliography and an index. Despite my irritation with Bicheno's non-linear or frequently interrupted presentation of the conflict between the Holy League and the Ottomans that culminated at Lepanto, Crescent And Cross is a masterpiece of sorts, a most valuable reference work and a detailed study of the culture, weaponry, politics and personalities of the time.
25 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Lepanto 101 23 septembre 2003
Par "jennyj@sprintmail.com" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
As a historian currently writing on Lepanto, I read with interest Bicheno's treatment, which seeks to introduce a popular audience to one of the more interesting east-west struggles. The previous reviewer--ciao, Venezia!--is correct in pointing out that history is most reliably told by specialist academics who immerse themselves in dry detail and clearly our Venetian reviewer friend takes legitimate issue with the less-than-scholarly course Bicheno charts. However, there is another role of the historian, it seems to me, that Bicheno performs quite well: that of storyteller. Bicheno, unlike Agnus Konstam (whom our Venetian friend cites as well) has read a wide range of Lepanto secondary literature (and unlike Konstam, he seems per his bibliography to have read widely in other languages, where most of worth is to be found on the subject). Bicheno admirably concerns himself with more than the mere Oct 7strategic decisions and military aspects of the battle--he cautiously dips his toe into the artistic and cultural aspects of the battle. Bicheno's bibliography reflects, if not a specialist historian's focus or insight, an admirable synthesis of the broader implications of Lepanto that Bicheno might not understand as well as he does the military play-by-play but nonetheless fearlessly addresses. (ie the labryntine Counter-Reformation religious context; lepanto's impact on art--Vasari, Veronese, Titian, just to name a few of the guys with brushes...) For the military enthusiast, Angus Konstam's book, with its computer reconstructions and illustrations, is a quick and visually-compelling introduction to the battle scene. Bicheno tries to take the topic a bit further than Konstam, with some success and some limitations. Both authors are, it is worth noting, responding to the new efflorescence of interest in East-West struggles, filling the vaccuum of Lepanto in Anglophonic hands--Lepanto has not been of much interest to Anglophonic historians except for King James who wrote a poem about it in the 1580s (Bicheno gets it wrong that the poem is lost. It was published in 1603 and was used politically to tout the King's talents with the pen... ) Lord Chesterton of course waxed rhapsodic on the battle, using it for his own Catholic agenda...and the dulcit Ian Fenlon, who is I believe a musicologist at Cambridge or Oxford, made dents in my seat at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice before my time and had a thing for motets involving Turks, artistic celebration and the sublime harmonics of Palestrina...) Anyway, Bicheno's is not a historian's history, but as a well-turned overview, I think its a good and timely introduction.
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