'Without question one of the best books ever written by an Englishman on the Turks' William Dalrymple
Philip Mansel's highly acclaimed history of Constantinople (formerly known as Byzantium) absorbingly charts the interaction between the vibrantly cosmopolitan capital - the city of the world's desire - and its ruling family.
In 1453, Mehmed the Conqueror entered Constantinople on a white horse, beginning an Ottoman love affair with the city that lasted until 1924, when the last Caliph hurriedly left on the Orient Express. For almost five centuries Constantinople, with its enormous racial and cultural diversity, was the centre of the dramatic and often depraved story of an extraordinary dynasty.
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
Philip Mansel is a historian of France and the Ottoman Empire. He has written histories of Constantinople and nineteenth-century Paris, as well as biographies of Louis XVIII and the Prince de Ligne. Six of his books have been translated into French. He writes for the Art Newspaper, the Times Literary Supplement and The Spectator. While writing Levant, he lived in Beirut and Istanbul.