Echoes of Empire: An Accidental Historian’s Journey Through the Post-Ottoman World
Paperback, 380 Pages
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There is no dearth of news, not always of the most cheerful sort, coming out of the broad geographic arc of the vast territory that once constituted the mighty Ottoman Empire. The Arab Spring continues to reshape regions, an economic crisis is tearing apart Greece, pirates off the Horn of Africa are terrorizing ships, and conflicts in the Caucasus and Balkans are simmering. In Echoes of Empire: An Accidental Historian’s Journey through the Post-Ottoman World, James S. Kessler chronicles his travels through a dizzying array of cultures, religions, languages, and political systems found within many of the former Ottoman Empire’s possessions in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Drawing upon his experience as a historian and educator, Kessler explores how the shared Ottoman past—and how that past is remembered—continues to play a role in the post-imperial present in the more than forty countries that constitute the post-Ottoman world.
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Aug 6, 2016Echoes of Empire presents a revealing and enchanting exposé of the author’s experiences travelling through the vast spread of countries that identifies as the remains or the shadows of the famed Ottoman Empire. The book is arranged in five parts that, although not chronological, are skilfully and strategically organised; each part enticing you further into the alluring world of Kessler’s Ottomania. Even though it is not a travel guide per se, reading about each of the countries that he explores arouses a deep wanderlust, even (and at times, especially) for places that wouldn’t ordinarily feature on one’s travel bucket list. It was refreshing to re-visit countries I know well through Kessler’s keen eye, taking in his amusing anecdotes, astute observations and snippets of humour. Echoes of Empire is one of those books that is best enjoyed like a long and drawn-out gourmet meal, in my opinion. Admittedly, there were parts that I had to re-read and chew over several times in order... More > to really digest and appreciate the complexity and flavour of the historical narrations; to this unschooled mind, history often sounds Greek! Taking my time to consume the content in small morsels, I felt I was able to savour each part with great relish and give it due attention, slowly and deliberately enjoying every tidbit of new knowledge as it was absorbed. Upon finishing the final chapter, I was left with a sense of immense admiration and awe for this scholar and his insatiable quest to explore, discover and learn. Despite his depth of knowledge and obvious expertise, Kessler comes across as a quiet, humble and unassuming guest in whichever country he visits, invariably maintaining utmost respect and honour for local customs and culture. Having read Kessler’s debut novel ‘These Lions have Wings’, I had some notion of the literary treat that was in store for me. What I hadn’t braced myself for was a fascinating introduction and education of Ottoman history that would ignite in me a yearning for more.< Less
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- James S. Kessler (Standard Copyright License)
- March 11, 2016
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Full color
- 1.83 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
- Product ID
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