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  • Lords of the Horizons

  • A History of the Ottoman Empire
  • By: Jason Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Grahame Edwards
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Lords of the Horizons cover art

Lords of the Horizons

By: Jason Goodwin
Narrated by: Grahame Edwards
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Summary

The Ottoman Empire has long exerted a strong pull on Western minds and hearts. For over 600 years the empire swelled and declined, rising from a dusty fiefdom in the foothills of Anatolia to a power which ruled over the Danube and the Euphrates with the richest court in Europe. But its decline was prodigious, protracted and total.

©1998 Jason Goodwin (P)2018 Audible, Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Lords of the Horizons

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating, impressionistic book marred by narration

Lords of the Horizons is a beautifully written book that paints a portrait of a world fantastically different from our own. It gives an extraordinary insight into the Ottoman Empire and its rulers and people. What it isn't is a history in any usual sense of the word. Whilst guided by a vague chronology, it does not link one event to another and provides a series of anecdotes that form dreamlike impressions rather than understanding.

The narrator has a pleasant delivery but frequently muddles words or mispronounces them. This creates bizarre results so that a monastery is granted libertines and the empire has many tongs. Unsurprisingly, foreign names, including Turkish, are garbled and sometimes simply mumbled so it can be difficult to know what is going on.

Overall, it feels like much less than it should have been.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Difficult to take in

I didn't get much information from this book, it wasn't very easy to take in the information being provided.

I'm not sure if it was the delivery or the story but the characters and time periods were not very easy to follow, the state of the rest of the world and the era of the time wasn't always referenced, so I wasn't left with a good understanding of the history or the way of life of the Ottoman empire.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A rambling mess

I so wanted to like this book but I found myself unable to follow it. Switching between a chronological and thematic approach doesn't really work; the historical side is too sparse and further reading is required to fill in the gaps.

I thought it was maybe that it was not suitable as an audio book so I bought the Kindle edition as well. When I started reading that I realised that the experience was even worse as its flaws could not be blamed on a failure in my concentration.

It presents itself as an introductory survey but it fails in this aim.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A victim of it's title?

Lords of the Horizons can be a challenging and perplexing book for those who expect to hear about the history of the Empire. I had read previous Audible reviews on the book and came into the book with a shifted mindset - ready to listen to a thematic rather than fully chronological approach. However overall the book is a little messy and I a not sure the author bridged the thematic approach to the historical one well. It shifts from thematic topics to historical ones wildly and often left me wondering aloud in certain chapters - 'Where the hell is the author going with this?. For example in Chapter 12 'Rhythms', I completely lost track of why the author was talking about different types of Ottoman bridges for a few minutes and was a little baffled. Even during the historical sections of the books the author would jump between decades and centuries that would probably leave someone unfamiliar with Ottoman History confused or not with a full understanding.

However as someone who is amateurishly familiar with Ottoman History there were some topics covered that interested me and added to my understanding of Ottoman culture - for example the author's discussions about the Ottoman concept of time or the Turkish love for cats rooted in Islam. However I wouldn't say the 13 hours of my life I used to listen to the full book was made worth it by these topics and the book should be titled something like 'A sociological journey through the Ottoman Empire' rather than the history it promises. This may leave the reader slightly more satisfied with the book.

There is definitely value to this book. Unfortunately the book's title of a history of the empire does not deliver for the reasons stated. If you are new to the Ottoman Empire I would recommend another book. If you have the spare time and are looking to develop your understanding of Ottoman sociology this is more the book for you. However I am not so sure it is worth the investment of your money/credit and time overall.

Finally, I am not usually a stickler for narration however pronunciation can be very poor, for example pronouncing 'Celtic' like the Scottish football team, Dolmabace without the Turkish 'Ch' sound and outright misreading 'Trebizond' as 'Trezibond'. So some schoolboy errors that left me frustrated.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Give it a miss.

Non balanced view. completely misses the the motivations of the various kings and sultans from all sides. anectodal and unstructured.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great overview of the Ottoman Empire.

Descriptive, with some decent historiography, this narrative of the rise and fall of the Ottoman Turks is brilliant.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Orientalist view

This is the story of the Ottamans from a totally western perspective. For all references are from western sources and it is therefore a total bias picture which should be taken as I believe it was intended, for entertainment not serious study.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator's illiteracy spoils a good account

The author is clearly a learned man and writes an interesting history of the Ottomans. The narrator has a pleasing voice, but a poor command of the English language. I started making a list of all his mispronounced words, garbled English, and just plain mangled utterances, but there were so many I gave up, and to list them all here would bore any reader of my review. I blame the producers of this audiobook for their poor choice of narrator and their appalling quality control in allowing such a flawed soundtrack to be released.
Read the book by all means, just don't listen to it.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring poem not history

One of the most boring book , the author write like poem to the level he lost the meaning of history book !!!. Also very little coverage on the Middle East side of the ottoman

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A trifle chaotic but full of insights.

I don't think I'd pass an exam after hearing this, but it was very interesting just the same.

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