'For 200 years, from the mid-15th century, the Ottoman Empire was the most powerful force in Eurasia. Yet the Ottomans remain today one of the least explored areas of global history: an almost-forgotten giant. This gorgeous, wide-ranging and utterly fascinating book is the perfect introduction to the art and architecture, as well as cultural, religious and political history of one of the important and surprising of empires'
William Dalrymple, author of 'The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company'
'Exquisitely written and lavishly illustrated, this delightful book brings five centuries of Ottoman culture to life. Diana Darke constantly amazes the reader with fascinating facts and points of relevance between the Ottoman past and the present day'
Eugene Rogan, author of 'The Fall of the Ottomans'
'A balanced voice that surpasses prejudice and fixed notions, Diana Darke seeks to bridge the two worlds of the East and West through fascinating accounts of history, art and culture with a dedicated focus on what brings us together in an era of polarization'
Marwa al-Sabouni, author of 'The Battle for Home' and 'Building for Hope'
'An opportunity to reflect on the empire from a cultural perspective, taking in topics as diverse as the surgical instruments that the Ottomans invented to the poetry penned by sultans. Sumptuous illustrations bring [Darke’s] text to life'
'The Ottomans sets out to inform and revise opinion. In this beautifully illustrated volume, Diana Darke, a specialist in the history and culture of the Middle East, seeks to remind us of the glories, triumphs and successes of what was once one of the world’s greatest empires. … Darke has done a sterling job in showcasing the best of the cultural legacies'
Peter Frankopan, The Financial Times
'Darke emphasizes the pragmatism and innovation of the Ottoman state. After all they were building something that never existed before: an explicitly multicultural empire … Besides Darke’s plaidoyer for her cultivated subjects, the book’s lavish illustrations bring back the wonder and delight of the Ottomans with expressive and novel images'
Asian Review of Books
'Lively... A total of 149 wonderful images of paintings, maps, and manuscripts accompany the book’s twelve chapters, each of which tackles a specific cultural realm of the empire'
The New Criterion
'[An] engaging illustrated survey [that] examines the Ottomans’ broad cultural impact on the diverse lands they ruled, as well as their often-overlooked medical and scientific innovations... The undoubted highlight of The Ottomans is its superb selection of nearly 150 full-color images illuminating the many cultural and historical facets Darke explores, with detailed captions that add further context'
The Washington Post
'To appreciate Ottoman society, there is nowhere better to start. This is a celebration of all aspects of Ottoman culture – its government, religious values, commerce, education, art, medicine, music, architecture and cuisine. … A joy not just to read but to look at. Every page seems to hold not only another fascinating revelation, but also a beautiful illustration to go with it'