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1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
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1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  2,772 Ratings  ·  267 Reviews
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 empero

Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 15th 2006 by Hachette Books (first published May 29th 2005)
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Sep 20, 2007 Sonanova rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, those interested in the early confrontations between Islam and the West
This book was very enjoyable, narrative, and engaging effort to explain what is perhaps one of the most facinating and famous clashes of all time. The author took efforts to make the reader understand not only the personalities of the conflict, but the atmosphere and environs in which the events took place. The result is a clear and consise history, with every effort made to remain unbaised and retain historical details, without completely sacrificing the story itself. It is certainly not a bori ...more
Juliana Es
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Oct 11, 2015 Liviu rated it it was amazing
good account, fast and gripping; entertaining enough (and offering a good mixture of familiar and new)
Jul 29, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much of my historical reading often refers to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, but none of it describes the battle itself in any real depth. It seemed to be an important historical turning point as the Middle Ages developed into the Renaissance, and I wanted to learn more about it.

Thanks to Roger Crowley's informative, accessible introduction to the subject, I have a much greater understanding of "the last great siege" not only in terms of its immediate historical context, but also its contin
An eminently readable and detailed account of the May 1453 Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. I enjoyed this account and learned a lot.

Background to the conflict was presented, then the personalities of the two protagonists, Constantine XI, aged 49, and Mehmet II, a boy of 21. We are taken through the conflict, point by point. There are many quotes from accounts of that period. The Ottomans have swallowed up most of the Byzantine Empire already; but Mehmet thinks of himself as a new
Oct 09, 2014 James rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Driving into town from Istanbul airport you are confronted by a massed array of enormous ancient walls right by the highway. Which in turn always made me want to read more about Constantinople and how it became Istanbul (also the topic of a very catchy they might be giants song).

To the credit of the author he delivers in clear simple prose the answer to how the city with the mightiest fortifications in the world fell. Even more admirably he avoids drawing simplistic parallels between today's rel
Dec 29, 2008 te is currently reading it
Recommended to te by: mark glazer
next spring's honor's trip is to istanbul, and i asked a turkish friend of mine what would be a good read to prep. he suggested this book. scholars generally mark the end of middle ages and byzantium by the fall of constantinople in, d'oh! 1453 by mehmet II.

geek food? i s'pose, but it's beautifully written: "driven by the word of god and divine conquest, the people of the desert constructed navies 'to wage holy war by sea'..."

and it's delightfully full of hmmmm tidbits. greek fire, for instanc
Roger Crowley writes some of the absolute best narrative history, and Simon Prebble is Simon Prebble.

The 1453 fall of Constantinople is a fascinating topic surrounded in myth and mystery, with heroes like Giovanni Giustiniani and Constantine Dragases leaping from the page as if they're fictional, and the 21-year-old Mehmet Fatih an enigmatic and commanding (if occasionally childish and ill-tempered) figure.

Totally worth the read/listen if you're even remotely interested.
Myke Cole
Jun 14, 2014 Myke Cole rated it it was amazing
1453 covers a contentious moment in the history of the struggle between East and West. There was a lot of potential for partisan campaigning, character-slander and historical sleight-of-hand. Crowley neatly avoids these pitfalls, presenting a balanced, sympathetic portrait of the characters and the world, all while maintaining a dramatic voice befiting a fiction novelist. Gripping and educating.
Jansen Wee
A detailed historical rending of the siege of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) in 1453, and yet one that is extremely readable. Crowley's telling of the historical event showed how culturally biased perceptions by the Orthodox Greeks and the other parts of Christendom (in this case against the Ottoman Turks), led them to commit a series of strategic errors that eventually left Constantinople diplomatically isolated. Hence, its heightened vulnerability when the new sultan, Mehmet II, ascended ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Zahrazha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tak bisa di bayangkan sebuah negeri dengan kesempurnaannya dan ketaatan para pemeluknya yang selalu menjadi incaran para penguasa terdahulu .. entah dari satu kaki yang mampu berdiri diantara kedua benua asia dan eropa yang mampu membentuk konstantinopel menjadi sebuah negeri yang tak tertandingi bak surga yang Tuhan berikan kepada penduduk bumi kala itu.
crowley mampu menuturkannya dengan dramatis dan indah ketika byzantium tersungkur oleh kekuatan pasukan muslim turki utsmani dalam menaklukan k
Feb 24, 2015 Murtaza rated it liked it
This book more-or-less delivers what it promises: an account of the siege and fall of Constantinople in 1453. Due to the limits of historical record it is understandably told primarily from a few sources (mainly those of the defenders) a shortcoming the author acknowledges. Its a fine book for what its worth, written in clear prose. As all reviews are somewhat subjective I must confess that I found it to be lacking in some way....perhaps in "urgency." Nonetheless, its an important book for histo ...more
Gumble's Yard
Mar 19, 2017 Gumble's Yard rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Very well written book of the siege – set out chronologically with each chapter’s title including the exact time it is covering.

Cleverly the chronological stretch of the chapters shortens as the actual day of the fall is approached and reached.

The parts leading up to the siege are succinct and logically written as well as insightful especially into the Muslim attitude to Constantinople (part hatred, part a sense of destiny, part a fear of the impregnability of the land walls) and the character
Sep 14, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing
What an inspiring story. The characters on both side of the conflict are amazing. I'd rank this story of the last battle for Constantinople with the Greeks at Thermopylae, or the Texans at the Alamo. The greatness that lies within us may seem dormant at times, but we are all capable of rising to the occasion and this story tells just one of those stories from the pantheon of history.

I love getting peaks into non-Western history. Their stories and their lessons on how to live the best life are wo
dedeh  handayani

ROGER CROWLEY (lahir pada 1951 di Inggris) adalah lulusan Cambridge University. Usai menuntaskan sekolah dasar dan menengah, ia menghabiskan masa musim panas di Yunani untuk membuat barang tembikar. Setamat dari universitas, anak dari keluarga angkatan laut ini hijrah ke Istanbul dan mengembangkan minat yang besar pada sejarah Turki: selama bertahun-tahun, ia bertualang ke seluruh kawasan Mediterania dan mendalami pengetahuan geografi dan masa lalu wilayah ini. Beberapa tahun tera
Sep 04, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Agree whole heartedly with the the lead for the book: "a gripping exploration of the fall of Constantinople." A wonderful and thrilling read. THE BEST BOOK I have read in a long time. Mr. Crowley brings the actors, motivations, settings and action vividly to life. You can feel the intelligence of Mehmet, the desperation of Constantine, the roar of the cannons and the sound of battle.

I learned a great deal from this book, in particular that many of the seeds of conflict between East and West, bet
To be honest, I had hoped for more than just the tale of the fall of Constantinople. For example, I had read somewhere that it was because of the fall of the 'Eastern Rome' (Constantinople) that Ptolemy's lost Geographia had been re-found to the West. This geography, written by Ptolemy in the 1-2C AD using 8,000 known geographic points was instrumental in helping Europe launch its cceanic explorations that eventually led to the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 and Vasco de Gama's landin ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Evgenia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A meticulous exploration of the last days of Constantinople as well as the social, religious, and political forces behind its demise. Although well written and interesting enough, much of it is a bit slow for those (such as myself) who are not too enthralled with military history. However, Roger Crowley more than makes up for it with the climactic end: In the space of 35 pages, he covers the last 24 hours of the Byzantine Empire in an engrossing narrative that captures not only factual details b ...more
Feb 22, 2008 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: history, religion
This was a pretty good and fast read, and gave a very interesting and balanced picture of the two sides in the long-standing conflict between Muslim Asia and Christian Europe. The description of the state of Constantinople in 1453, a once-proud metropolis brought low by disease, corruption and schism, was particularly interesting.

That said, the most interesting chapters by far were the first and last ones, which described much longer periods of time and connected the rise of Islam and disintegr
Nov 07, 2007 Bizzaro! rated it really liked it
NOV. 19th, 2007: Finished the book and am now reading through all the sources and such. Sorta like extras on a good DVD. I wish I had a real work ethic. I'd turn this into an epic graphic novel and then a few years later get it turned into the most gigantic epic battle movie. It'd be like LOTR without having to tolerate those stupid elves! For all the history lovers but I think this book is written in a friendly enough voice, that it can read almost as a piece of fiction. Almost.
It's fascinating
Michael S.
Mar 10, 2009 Michael S. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historians, general readers
Recommended to Michael S. by: Borders bookstore find
Crowley's narration of the events surrounding the final days of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire makes an excellent primary case for 6 A.M. (GMT+2), May 29th, 1453 as the firm, bright, dividing line between "Classical Antiquity" and "Modern History". Part war story, part sociological analysis, 1453 is one of the infrequent mass-marketed history books that truly deserves wide circulation among lay and professional readers.

An interesting exposition of the fall of the original "Big Apple", the
Jan 23, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I would give this book 4.5 stars if I could. Crowley's book is a fast read with a lot of action. Much of it alternately reminded me of the movie "high noon" or the Lord of the Ring. The Byzantine emperor sought in vain for help from the Western world (except for some hardy bands of Italians, Venetians, and Catalans). With better than 10:1 odds in favor of the Ottomans, the outcome was almost a forgone conclusion. I am not sure I buy the author's assertion that battle for Constantinople could hav ...more
Gretchen Felker-Martin
May 29, 2013 Gretchen Felker-Martin rated it it was amazing
a clear, concise, and even-handed account of one of history's most famous sieges. crowley manages to be elegiac without dipping into speculation, and his study of Mehmed's illness and decline in the confines of the Topkapi Palace is a poignant parallel to the illusion of imperial stability cultivated by the Ottomans and other great powers throughout human history. with so many Islamophobic pundits and problematic East/West narratives floating around out there, Crowley, a scholar of integrity, is ...more
Jiwa Rasa
May 24, 2011 Jiwa Rasa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buku yang ditulis dari sumber yang berbagai. Ditulis dari perspektif pihak Constantine dan Kristian Ortodoks yang dikalahkan oleh Mehmet Al Fateh. Pihak Kristian tidak dapat menyembunyikan rasa hormat dan kagum atas kebijaksanaan dan kekuatan strategi tentera Muslim yang dipimpin Mehmet Al Fateh.
Lauren Albert
Nail-biting suspense. I mean, obviously you know how the story will end, but Crowley makes it all so vivid that you can feel the tension build in the city over the course of the siege.
Nov 04, 2012 Adityas rated it it was amazing
Buku yang menceritakan penaklukan Konstantinopel dengan pandangan yang objektif tanpa "MENGKULTUSKAN" maupun "MERENDAHKAN" tokoh-tokoh yang terlibat di dalamnya.
Jul 27, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of "300" and/ or "The Alamo."
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Excellent, but also heartbreakingly sad. Great summer reading, and popular history at its best. I'll add some more thoughts on this sometime this weekend.
May 22, 2015 Nemalevich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than Troy

Rare case when you actually glimpse the wheels of history turn. The best siege story I've ever read. Fascinating reading.
হাঁটুপানির জলদস্যু
ইতিহাসের গলপ রসিয়ে বলা কঠিন। রজার করাউলি কাজটা ভালো পারেন। ...more
Jan 06, 2017 Martin rated it liked it
This was not quite what I expected. For me, this was primarily a military account of the siege of Constantinople. At the beginning and end there was a wider world view of the end of Byzantium and the beginning of Ottoman primacy, but for the most part this book was about the ins and the outs of how the Ottomans sieged this city that was by its very nature supposed to be impregnable. (The greatest surprise for me was when the Greeks discovered the Ottomans were tunneling under the city walls that ...more
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How Istanbul go its name 1 31 Dec 30, 2007 02:18PM  
  • The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
  • A Short History of Byzantium
  • Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World
  • The Fall of Constantinople 1453
  • Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization
  • The First Crusade: A New History
  • Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade
  • In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire
  • Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy & the Birth of Democracy
  • Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity
  • Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire
  • God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
  • The Alexiad
  • Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire
  • The Ottoman Centuries
  • The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000 (Penguin History of Europe (Viking))
  • Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World
  • The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe
Roger Crowley was born in 1951 and spent part of his childhood in Malta. He read English at Cambridge University and taught English in Istanbul, where he developed a strong interest in the history of Turkey. He has traveled widely throughout the Mediterranean basin over many years and has a wide-ranging knowledge of its history and culture. He lives in Gloucestershire, England.
More about Roger Crowley...

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