Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Empires of the Sea & r & by Roger Crowley & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f you think relations between Islam and Christianity have been testy lately, you should read Empires of the Sea. Yikes! Back in the 16th century, the Mediterranean ran with blood as sultans Selim and Suleiman in Istanbul and kings Charles V and Philip II of Spain battled to control what, at the time, was the center of the world.





Roger Crowley's background as a teacher and former resident of Istanbul adds up to a knack for keeping you turning the pages. And unlike so many doorstoppers of late, Crowley manages to cover a half-century -- 1521-71 -- in ripping style and get out in just under 300 pages.





This was a time when the Ottoman Empire, just recently having won Istanbul from the Christians, was flexing its muscles. And they did it on the prows of galleys, nasty warships that could poke in and out of harbors quickly, leaving destruction in their wake and hauling off the slow-footed to the thriving Mediterranean slave trade. Christendom was vulnerable, with the Pope presiding over what seemed to be more a herd of cats than heads of state.





Still, in the two battles detailed in the book -- the Siege of Malta and the Battle of Lepanto -- the Christians won and kept the Ottomans in check. And what battles they were -- coming just after the printing press, they were recorded in amazing detail. (The Ottomans wrote everything down, too.) The Knights of St. John -- the last remnant of the Crusaders -- held off the invaders at Malta, and audacious seamanship under Don Juan of Austria sank the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto. That 1571 engagement stood as the deadliest battle on the planet for nearly the next 300 years. Crowley evokes the utter horror of these scenes in Boschian detail. It's unbridled savagery on both sides.





Despite the blood, Empires of the Sea is filled with indelible characters and reminds us that there was a time when Europe just narrowly avoided what could have quickly become widespread Ottoman rule.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Odds And Ends
  • Odds And Ends

    Idaho lawmakers are pulled in lots of directions; plus, SPD weighs a "culture audit"
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Four Days A Week
  • Four Days A Week

    Idaho schools that dropped one day a week from their schedule are saving a little money — but at what cost?
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • A County Ombudsman?
  • A County Ombudsman?

    Weighing the costs and benefits of oversight at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
2015 NCAA Division 1 Woman's Regionals

2015 NCAA Division 1 Woman's Regionals @ Spokane Arena

Mon., March 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


Comment


marijuana


Publisher's Note


long reads


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation