Translated from the original Italian publication (Arsenale Editrice, Venice, 1997). An elegantly produced, lavishly illustrated presentation. The text describes living quarters, customs and rituals, and politics and intrigue of the Ottoman Sultans' women; includes description of the reigns and idiosyncracies of the Sultans and their favorites; and traces the decline of the once mighty empire. About half the references cited in the bibliography are in Italian or French. Illustrations include documents of the period, old and new photographs, and paintings by Renoir, Delacroix, Matisse, and Ingres, among others. Lacks an index. Distributed in the US by Rizzoli through St. Martin's Press. 9.75x12<"> Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.