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The Siege Of Vienna

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Overview

The definitive account of the last serious threat to Western civilization by the armies of Islam. The siege of Vienna in 1683 was one of the turning points in European history. It was the last serious threat to Western Christendom--so disastrous was its potential outcome that countries normally jealous and hostile sank their differences to throw back the Muslim armies and their savage Tartar allies. The consequences of defeat were momentous: the Ottomans lost half of their European territories and began the long ...
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Overview

The definitive account of the last serious threat to Western civilization by the armies of Islam. The siege of Vienna in 1683 was one of the turning points in European history. It was the last serious threat to Western Christendom--so disastrous was its potential outcome that countries normally jealous and hostile sank their differences to throw back the Muslim armies and their savage Tartar allies. The consequences of defeat were momentous: the Ottomans lost half of their European territories and began the long decline which led to the final collapse of their empire; and the Habsburgs turned their attention from France and the Rhine frontier to the rich pickings of the Balkans. That hot day in September witnessed the last great trial of Cross and Crescent. "Masterly...Stoye follows the action meticulously." --The Wall Street Journal
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
So Baron Munchausen lied after all: The Turks didn't have heavy artillery at Vienna. Just so, Stoye (History/Magdalen College, Oxford) carefully amends much of what we know about that famed siege. The Ottoman Empire did not advance on Vienna by whim in 1683. One of its interests was to keep Hungary, "a cluster of fortresses in water-logged country," in the Turkish camp by, among other things, suppressing non-Islamic religions more or less equally, giving Protestantism equal footing with Catholicism and Orthodoxy. The Ottoman's understanding of European divisions was essentially correct, since Eastern Europe feared Rome more than Istanbul. The Habsburgs, meanwhile, reckoned the Ottomans a negotiable threat, sure that "Louis XIV was more to be feared than Mehmed IV," since France was emerging as a continental power with expansionist ambitions of its own. But then, so was Poland, and so was Russia, and so were various German states. The Habsburgs amended their view when 100,000 Ottoman soldiers, including fine cavalry and artillery, arrived at the gates of Vienna and laid a siege that, for a time, was a business-as-usual sort of thing-until hunger and disease settled in. Effectively unable to do much, and beset by rebel forces from fallen colonies, the Habsburgs let it slip that they could use help, whereupon those ambitious powers competed to relieve Vienna. Yet they also worked in alliance, given powerful stimulus in the "military implications if Kara Mustafa permanently lodged an Ottoman garrison in the heart of Europe." Finally, the siege was lifted when the famed Polish warrior king Jan Sobieski arrived with 30,000 well-trained soldiers, closely followed by 40,000 troops led by FrenchDuke Charles V. Better armed and led, the allied forces secured the region from the Turks, setting the Ottomans on a slow course of decline. A solid, if staid, narrative of events once well-known throughout Europe, and now the province of a few specialists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933648149
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Publication date: 7/6/2009
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

John Stoye is a Fellow in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he lives. He has written several books including Europe Unfolding: 1648-1666, Marsigli's Europe: 1680-1730 and English Travellers Abroad: 1604-1667.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    While the German-born author is praised for his command of English, his story telling ability is poor. I felt I was dropped into the middle of the history, deluged with names of people and places and left to sort out what he was trying to tell me. After 112 pages of struggling to understand what he obviously was passionate about, I gave up.

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