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The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II - Conqueror of Constantinople, Master of an Empire and Lord of Two Seas

The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II - Conqueror of Constantinople, Master of an Empire and Lord of Two Seas
John Freely

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Sultan Mehmet II, the Grand Turk, known to his countrymen as Fatih, 'the Conqueror', and to much of Europe as 'the present Terror of the World', was once the most feared and powerful ruler in the world. The seventh of his line to rule the Ottoman Turks, Mehmet was barely 21 when he conquered Byzantine Constantinople, which became Istanbul and the capital of his mighty empire. Mehmet reigned for 30 years, during which time his armies extended the borders of his empire halfway across Asia Minor and as far into Europe as Hungary and Italy. Three popes called for crusades against him as Christian Europe came face to face with a new Muslim empire.Mehmet himself was an enigmatic figure. Revered by the Turks and seen as a cruel and brutal tyrant by the west, he was a brilliant military leader but also a renaissance prince who had in his court Persian and Turkish poets, Arab and Greek astronomers and Italian scholars and artists.

In this, the first biography of Mehmet for 30 years, John Freely vividly brings to life the world in which Mehmet lived and illuminates the man behind the myths, a figure who dominated both East and West from his palace above the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, where an inscription still hails him as, 'Sultan of the two seas, shadow of God in the two worlds, God's servant between the two horizons, hero of the water and the land, conqueror of the stronghold of Constantinople."

Author Info

John Freely was born in New York and joined the US Navy at the age of seventeen, serving with a commando unit in Burma and China during the last years of World War II. He has lived in New York, Boston, London, Athens and Istanbul and has written over forty travel books and guides, most of them about Greece and Turkey. He is author of 'The Cyclades', 'The Ionian Islands', 'Crete', 'The Western Shores of Turkey', 'Strolling Through Athens', 'Strolling Through Venice' as well as 'Inside the Seraglio', 'Jem Sultan' and the bestselling 'Strolling Through Istanbul'.


Whenever I'm asked to recommend a book about Turkey, I reply, 'Anything by John Freely'. This latest work is a marvellous example of Freely's ability to convey the sweep of history by telling us about the outsized characters who shaped it. Mehmet the Conqueror, who captured Constantinople at the age of 21 and went on to reshape the world, has never seemed as alive as he does on these pages.
– Stephen Kinzer, former 'New York Times' correspondent and author of Reset Middle East

To do justice to a figure as colourful and complicated as Mehmed the Conqueror, one has to combine the ability of a master story teller with an intimate knowledge of Istanbul (Constantinople), the city Mehmed first conquered and then spent the rest of his life rebuilding and repopulating. The readers of this book are fortunate that John Freely possesses both these traits.
– Heath W. Lowry, Professor of Ottoman & Modern Turkish Studies, Princeton University.

[A]n enjoyable book which attempts to give a broad picture of Mehmet II’s life and achievements and I recommend it to all those interested in Islamic history in general and Ottoman history in particular.
– The Muslim World Book Review

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781845117047
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2009
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: Illustrations

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