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'Without question one of the best books ever written by an Englishman on the Turks' William Dalrymple

About the Author

Philip Mansel is a historian of courts and dynasties. His books include a study of the Court of France, a history of Constantinople, Paris between Empires, and a life of the Prince de Ligne. He has written for numerous publications, including the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, the TLS and the Spectator. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research and editor of The Court Historian. His web-site can be consulted at


Mansel (Witnesses, State Mutual Book and Periodical Service, 1994) has written a highly readable anecdotal history of Constantinople during the Ottoman period. For over 1000 years, Constantinople had been the capital of Byzantium. That period of the city's history ended in 1453 when Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, conquered the city. Constantinople became, under the Ottomans, a great dynastic capital comparable to the Vienna of the Hapsburgs. The Ottoman sultans saw themselves as universal rulers and their capital as the refuge of the universe. When the Jews of Spain were expelled from the country in 1492, the Ottoman sultan invited them to settle in his lands. Under the Ottomans, multinationalism was the guiding principle. From palace to waterfront, Mansel has brought to vivid life the individuals and events of Ottoman Constantinople and its ruling family until 1924, when the city was stripped of its role as capital of the country. While Mansel's work is written as a popular history, it will also reward readers who already have some knowledge of Ottoman history. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.‘Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.

'An endless treasure chest of fascinating facts and extraordinary revelations ! a cultural and social history as much as a political and military one, Mansel's outstandingly researched portrait of this intriguing imperial city and its exotic denizens is gripping' -- Robert Carver, Scotsman 'The victory, the defeat, the magnificence, the squalor, the cruelty and the tolerance of the Ottoman years are all recorded there, Constantinople is one of those cities to which I always long to return, and the longing grows on every page' -- Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph 'Marvellous ! the experience of the whole city grows with the book ! you always feel close to the beat of Constantinople's raffish and mysterious heart' -- Michael Ratcliffe, Observer 'A happy blend of shcolarship and panache ... If you have visited Constantinople, read it: if not, buy it before you go' Lawrence James, Evening Standard" -- Lawrence James, Evening Standard 'Plenty of intrigue and bloodshed. The squeamish should skip the city's solution to the stray dog problem! and focus on the convincingly documented and colourful ebb and flow of economy and society' -- Charmaine Chan, South China Morning Post

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