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Empires of the Sea
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About the Author

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. He is also the author of 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West.

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Crowley (1453), an independent scholar of the 16th-century Mediterranean, focuses here on the final contest between Christian and Muslim, Hapsburg and Ottoman, for control of the Middle Sea. Masterfully synthesizing primary and secondary sources, he vividly reconstructs the great battles, Malta and Lepanto, that shaped the struggle and introduces the larger-than-life personalities that dominated council chambers and fields of battle. This was a time of hard men who took high risks, asked no mercy and gave no quarter. Familiar figures like Philip II of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent share the stage with Jean de La Valette, whose inspired defense of Malta in 1565 checked a tide of Ottoman victories, and the great corsair Hayrettin Barbarossa. Crowley recreates the fighting and the brutality in page-turning prose that never sacrifices accuracy for color. He also demonstrates that the conflict, which ended with a compromise peace in 1580, marked the Mediterranean basin's end as the center of the world. Henceforth the loci of power would shift elsewhere in a modernizing world. Illus. (July 1) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

[Crowley] offers exquisitely delicate insights and undulating descriptive passages. Yet in his descriptions of the battles, his prose is so taut and tense, it is impossible not to be caught up in the harrowing action. Christian Science Monitor A masterly narrative that captures the religious fervor, brutality and mayhem of this intensive contest. Kirkus Reviews, starred review Gripping . . . This is a rare combination of a history book that reads with the detail, insight and pace of a novel. Tampa Tribune Crowley has an astonishing gift for narration; his account is as exciting as any thriller. Wall Street Journal Crowley s page-turner history . . . deserves to be this [season s] most recommended nonfiction book. . . . Rich in character, action, surprise, what transpired in those few desperate weeks is one of history s best and most thrilling stories. Dallas Morning News"

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