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"In his splendid study The Siege of Vienna, the Oxford historian John Stoye provides a detailed account of the intricate machinations between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. Mr. Stoye's description of the siege itself is masterly. He seems to know every inch of ground, every earthwork and fortification around the Imperial City, and he follows the action meticulously."--The "In his splendid study The Siege of Vienna, the Oxford historian John Stoye provides a detailed account of the intricate machinations between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. Mr. Stoye's description of the siege itself is masterly. He seems to know every inch of ground, every earthwork and fortification around the Imperial City, and he follows the action meticulously."--The Wall Street Journal "Worthy of the pen of Herodotus. . . . It is a measure of the fascination of Mr. Stoye's subject that one should think of comparing his treatment of it with the work of the greatest historians."--The Times Literary Supplement "John Stoye is the master of every aspect of his subject."--Daily Telegraph The siege of Vienna in 1683 was one of the turning points in European history. So great was its impact that countries normally jealous and hostile sank their differences to throw back the armies of Islam and their savage Tartar allies. The consequences of defeat were momentous: The Ottomans lost half of their European territories, 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 September day in 1683 witnessed the last great trial of strength between the East and the West-and opened an epoch in European history that lasted until the First World War.


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"In his splendid study The Siege of Vienna, the Oxford historian John Stoye provides a detailed account of the intricate machinations between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. Mr. Stoye's description of the siege itself is masterly. He seems to know every inch of ground, every earthwork and fortification around the Imperial City, and he follows the action meticulously."--The "In his splendid study The Siege of Vienna, the Oxford historian John Stoye provides a detailed account of the intricate machinations between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. Mr. Stoye's description of the siege itself is masterly. He seems to know every inch of ground, every earthwork and fortification around the Imperial City, and he follows the action meticulously."--The Wall Street Journal "Worthy of the pen of Herodotus. . . . It is a measure of the fascination of Mr. Stoye's subject that one should think of comparing his treatment of it with the work of the greatest historians."--The Times Literary Supplement "John Stoye is the master of every aspect of his subject."--Daily Telegraph The siege of Vienna in 1683 was one of the turning points in European history. So great was its impact that countries normally jealous and hostile sank their differences to throw back the armies of Islam and their savage Tartar allies. The consequences of defeat were momentous: The Ottomans lost half of their European territories, 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 September day in 1683 witnessed the last great trial of strength between the East and the West-and opened an epoch in European history that lasted until the First World War.

30 review for The Siege of Vienna: The Last Great Trial Between Cross and Crescent

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    Trudging around museums as a child was always a catastophic collision between my total lack of interest in anything cultural, sugary drinks offered as a bribe, and my parents almost mystical ability to stand entranced before one single exhibit before slowly inching their way to the next in a never endind series of cavernous halls. Every now and then a particular exhibit would pierce my ennui and leave a lasting impression. Invariably it would be something my parents considered a bit lowbrow. One Trudging around museums as a child was always a catastophic collision between my total lack of interest in anything cultural, sugary drinks offered as a bribe, and my parents almost mystical ability to stand entranced before one single exhibit before slowly inching their way to the next in a never endind series of cavernous halls. Every now and then a particular exhibit would pierce my ennui and leave a lasting impression. Invariably it would be something my parents considered a bit lowbrow. One such exhibit was a Polish war helmet from the siege of vienna which looked like some mad max mash up between an American Indian and a knight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_h...) also known as the two core intrests of your average six year old boy. From that moment on a life long interest in this particular history was born, deepened further by having spent time in Vienna where the event has been mythologized beyond any recognition as that rarest of events a Habsburg military victory. In short order coffee houses, croissants, parks, the Vienese version of sqwauking geese all originate from the siege. So it was with some happiness that I cracked open this book. In terms of providing the overall context in which the confrontation happened the book is excellent at least on the European side of the conflict. Austria was obsessed with preventing the French from expanding their power in Europe and all but ignored the Ottoman threat untill the very last minute when they launched a frenzied appeal for help. This then set off a race against time with the besieged and the besiegers digging a lot of mine and counter mines, while across Europe armies were raised at the increasingly desperate expense of the Austrian ruler Leopold, all with one eye to their traditional enemies the French not taking advantage of the situation. The relief of Vienna by the Poles who took the lions share of credit, deservedly from the other allies, is given realtively short shrift, whereupon booty was grabbed and bickering amongst the relief army led to the swift breakdown of the counter attacking force. The book is also strong at pointing to how the event set of a reorientation of the formerly inward looking European powers like Austria or Venice from fighting other European nations to proactively confronting the Ottoman empire and wresting their domination of southern eastern europe away. Where i found the book a bit lacking was in the Ottaman perspective which is not given much detail beyond powerful grand vizier raises army, forgets cannon, loses and is executed. While this is explained as due to a lack of any surviving evidence, it give the book a decidely one sided view. The second complaint is purely personal and perhaps unfairly driven by my overly fertile expectations but the overall tone is dry and clearly the authors interest is more in the grand sweep than in any colour that would actually give one a feel for what it was like for the those in the conflict. Overall the book sets out a clear explanation on why it all happened and what it meant but with very little on what actually happened.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    Pathetic. Somehow, John Stoye relates one of the most awesome sieges in the history of warfare, in a boring list of events and stats. Stoye claims that the only reason that the relief happened when it did was that the Catholic officers wanted proper beds to sleep in that night. John Stoye also claims that King John Sobieski was just a fat blob that had not real influence in the relief. The actual final charge of the Catholics is told in less than one page. If you love Vienna and Christian Civili Pathetic. Somehow, John Stoye relates one of the most awesome sieges in the history of warfare, in a boring list of events and stats. Stoye claims that the only reason that the relief happened when it did was that the Catholic officers wanted proper beds to sleep in that night. John Stoye also claims that King John Sobieski was just a fat blob that had not real influence in the relief. The actual final charge of the Catholics is told in less than one page. If you love Vienna and Christian Civilization, this book may destroy your admiration with its lies and biasness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Myke Cole

    Enormously disappointing. While I don't doubt Stoye's research or academic rigor, his prose styling is downright obfuscating. Writers of historical monographs still have an obligation to paint a picture for the reader, and Stoye seems to almost deliberately use complicated language, tangents, and wooden character portaits to create a slog of a read. Writers of history still have to be good dramatic narrators. That skill is as important as the history itself. If you lose your audience, then all t Enormously disappointing. While I don't doubt Stoye's research or academic rigor, his prose styling is downright obfuscating. Writers of historical monographs still have an obligation to paint a picture for the reader, and Stoye seems to almost deliberately use complicated language, tangents, and wooden character portaits to create a slog of a read. Writers of history still have to be good dramatic narrators. That skill is as important as the history itself. If you lose your audience, then all the historical objectivity and solid research in the world does no good, because no one will read it. I would love to see Stoye pair with a Paul Fussel, a Roger Crowley or a Steve Coll and rewrite this book. This is a great story, and it deserves a great story-teller.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    A good read, very well researched, and it busts a lot of the popular myths that have developed about what actually went on during this siege on both sides. For instance, I have often seen references to the French forces assisting in raising the siege...but the order of battle breakdown shows them to be Franconian, which isn't French at all, but it used to be an independent principality, allied with Swabia, mostly part of Bavaria now. For the longest time, I had thought Louis XIV had sided with t A good read, very well researched, and it busts a lot of the popular myths that have developed about what actually went on during this siege on both sides. For instance, I have often seen references to the French forces assisting in raising the siege...but the order of battle breakdown shows them to be Franconian, which isn't French at all, but it used to be an independent principality, allied with Swabia, mostly part of Bavaria now. For the longest time, I had thought Louis XIV had sided with the Hapsburgs in this one instance. Oh well...good to get that one cleared up.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Willem Neill

    A seriously thrilling and informative account of siege warfare in an interesting period of medieval/renaissance history. Unfortunately, the actual account of the battle and the siege makes up only a small portion of the book, but the rest of the political narrative is crisp, concise and intriguing. Definitely pick this one up if you want to read about trench warfare at the dawn of gunpowder warfare! Will probably read those parts again for sure!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vassilis Xanthakis

    Πρόκειται πιθανότατα για το μοναδικό μεταφρασμένο στα ελληνικά ιστορικό βιβλίο που αφορά την εξαιρετικά σημαντική πολιορκία της Βιέννης από τους Οθωμανούς, τη δεύτερη βέβαια καθώς είχε προηγηθεί κι εκείνη υπό τον Σουλειμάν πριν από 150 χρόνια. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον το βιβλίο, πρέπει να σημειώσω όμως πως αναλώνεται κατά κύριο λόγο στις διπλωματικές εξελίξεις και στην δαιδαλώδη πολιτική κατάσταση που επικρατούσε στην αυτοκρατορία των Αψβούργων και πολύ λιγότερο στην πολιορκία αυτή καθ' αυτή. Πρόκειται πιθανότατα για το μοναδικό μεταφρασμένο στα ελληνικά ιστορικό βιβλίο που αφορά την εξαιρετικά σημαντική πολιορκία της Βιέννης από τους Οθωμανούς, τη δεύτερη βέβαια καθώς είχε προηγηθεί κι εκείνη υπό τον Σουλειμάν πριν από 150 χρόνια. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον το βιβλίο, πρέπει να σημειώσω όμως πως αναλώνεται κατά κύριο λόγο στις διπλωματικές εξελίξεις και στην δαιδαλώδη πολιτική κατάσταση που επικρατούσε στην αυτοκρατορία των Αψβούργων και πολύ λιγότερο στην πολιορκία αυτή καθ' αυτή.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kürşat Alev

    Kuşatmanın, Avrupa ve Viyana gözüyle nasıl ilerlediğini ve sonuçlarının ne kadar önemli olduğunu göstermesi açısından güzel. Sadece birinci elden batılı kaynaklara ve tanıklıklara yer verilmiş.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    It has the depth I usually enjoy, although some extra references and maps would have been helpful in the conceptualization of events.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J

    If you're looking for a book that will help you fall asleep, or if you love a boring volume I would highly recommend John Stoye's "Siege of Vienna." Some months ago I had was introduced to this book by some friends. After several laborious weeks spent listening to dry historic facts and figures about the Siege of Vienna, and after trying to understand the elaborately boring politics of the Ottoman Empire, I would say this book isn't worth taking the time to read. If you're looking for a book that will help you fall asleep, or if you love a boring volume I would highly recommend John Stoye's "Siege of Vienna." Some months ago I had was introduced to this book by some friends. After several laborious weeks spent listening to dry historic facts and figures about the Siege of Vienna, and after trying to understand the elaborately boring politics of the Ottoman Empire, I would say this book isn't worth taking the time to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elliott Bignell

    The events covered in this book qualify as truly epochal. A millennium into its history, the tide of Islam finally turned, apparently for good. (Or at least until further review.) The Turkish wave that flowed and then ebbed back across the Balkans before the combined might of Habsburg Austria, Poles, Franconians, Bavarians and Saxons was not the same as that first wave of Arabs whose commanders had prayed alongside Muhammad, and the rise of Christianising Europe was secured in this moment. The S The events covered in this book qualify as truly epochal. A millennium into its history, the tide of Islam finally turned, apparently for good. (Or at least until further review.) The Turkish wave that flowed and then ebbed back across the Balkans before the combined might of Habsburg Austria, Poles, Franconians, Bavarians and Saxons was not the same as that first wave of Arabs whose commanders had prayed alongside Muhammad, and the rise of Christianising Europe was secured in this moment. The Scientific Revolution, invasion of the Americas, the Enlightenment, the Holocaust - all of this would be different had the Grand Vezier, Kara Mustafa, reduced Vienna instead of encountering the executioner's cord at the orders of his disappointed Sultan. So why did the first half of this book have to be so dull? The author clearly understands in depth these momentous events, their historical context and even the lie of the land. Yet almost half the volume seems to dwell on political minutiae. The tempo picks up once the Turks arrive at the gates, but by that point the reader is almost lost. This reader, anyway. I do not wish to be harsh, however, as the latter half of the book is perfectly engaging, if not bringing a surge to the pulse. And the consequences of this piece of history can hardly be overstated. An Ottoman Europe would have been a different animal to a Christian hegemony. Far from being a hegemonising theocracy, the Ottomans actually had a vested interest in letting subjects remain Christian so that they could be enslaved. Janissary troops in fact formed a large part of the military state that mobilised to besiege Vienna. The spread at sword-point of the Bible to the New World must necessarily have been different had Islam prevailed, but today's pluralistic and technological society could probably not have emerged in the same way or at the same speed. Might it have been a more tolerant Europe, a less murderous set of Empires, that resulted? This is very hard to say. So the book carries weight, and it's a shame that it had also to be so heavy. Truly, the tide turned at the gates of Vienna.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alberto Bellini

    Interessante saggio storico molto accurato sull'assedio di Vienna ad opera dei turchi nel 1683. il saggio è un po' datato, si tratta della seconda edizione di un saggio del 1964 ampiamente rivista nel 2000. risulta un po' concitato nello sviluppo dell'azione in cui i tanti dettagli geografici fanno un po' perdere il filo. inoltre manca una parte essenziale e cioè il contemporaneo sviluppo della politica francese in preparazione e risposta all'attacco turco. perchè Luigi XIV non interviene milita Interessante saggio storico molto accurato sull'assedio di Vienna ad opera dei turchi nel 1683. il saggio è un po' datato, si tratta della seconda edizione di un saggio del 1964 ampiamente rivista nel 2000. risulta un po' concitato nello sviluppo dell'azione in cui i tanti dettagli geografici fanno un po' perdere il filo. inoltre manca una parte essenziale e cioè il contemporaneo sviluppo della politica francese in preparazione e risposta all'attacco turco. perchè Luigi XIV non interviene militarmente? una spiegazione c'è nell'ultima parte del saggio ma sembra apodittica e certamente non è esauriente. anche l'analisi della politica ottomana è un po' sacrificata, inoltre viene completamente omesso il ruolo di Venezia e della Spagna che pure erano potenze non trascurabili e soprattutto interessate ai fatti. in ogni caso abbastanza scorrevole e sicuramente interessante

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Steinhauser

    This book is a detailed study of the 1683 Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks. It covers the diplomatic and political lead up to the siege, including the alliances formed by the Habsburgs to defend Vienna and preserve Christendom from an Ottoman invasion and occupation of central Europe. The book describes the siege tactics, and introduces the reader to the key military commanders and political leaders. The most famous of all, King John Sobieski of Poland, gets an interesting review in this boo This book is a detailed study of the 1683 Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks. It covers the diplomatic and political lead up to the siege, including the alliances formed by the Habsburgs to defend Vienna and preserve Christendom from an Ottoman invasion and occupation of central Europe. The book describes the siege tactics, and introduces the reader to the key military commanders and political leaders. The most famous of all, King John Sobieski of Poland, gets an interesting review in this book. The author argues that he had the most effective public relations campaign of all the leaders, and etched his way into history and European consciousness for centuries to come.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yokosuka14

    I was torn whether to rate this 3 or 4 stars. The book is impressive with the siege really just the axel around which a great wheel of history turns. The complex diplomacy of Europe at the time is fascinating, and not something that I knew a great deal about. The problem with the book is the lack of sources on the Turkish side. The author mentions frequently that the western sources are limited and the Turkish accounts are even more limited. Ultimately, the book suffers from the lack of a Turkis I was torn whether to rate this 3 or 4 stars. The book is impressive with the siege really just the axel around which a great wheel of history turns. The complex diplomacy of Europe at the time is fascinating, and not something that I knew a great deal about. The problem with the book is the lack of sources on the Turkish side. The author mentions frequently that the western sources are limited and the Turkish accounts are even more limited. Ultimately, the book suffers from the lack of a Turkish perspective.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I read this after seeing a statue of Pope Innocent XI in Budapest and wondering what it was doing there on Castle Hill. The Turks were half way across Europe at the end of the 17th century. This may have been te last Crusade, as the events thereafter led to the demise of the Ottoman Empire after ejection from Europe!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Альберто Лорэдо

    Good account on this important watershed in european history with really good maps and descriptions which help to follow all tve events properly, the story is told in a muddly way in some parts though.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    This was an excellent read. It gave a good overview of the politics of the time more so from the Habsburg side of things but it attempts to give a good introduction to the Turkish motivations as well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    A bit of a slow read, but if you're interested in the great conflict between Christendom and Islam, this moment at the gates of Vienna is critical. A bit of a slow read, but if you're interested in the great conflict between Christendom and Islam, this moment at the gates of Vienna is critical.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    An excellent chronical of the Siege during the Turkish Wars. Amazingly researched, with a density of detail. At times you can find yourself overwhelmed by Stoye's knowledge of the period. An excellent chronical of the Siege during the Turkish Wars. Amazingly researched, with a density of detail. At times you can find yourself overwhelmed by Stoye's knowledge of the period.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Misterc

    molto interessante.. la descrizione di un momento di svolta della storia europea

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Finley

    Hardcover version

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annette

  22. 5 out of 5

    steven e wirth

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lannuier

  25. 5 out of 5

    Serdar Kelahmet

  26. 4 out of 5

    George Wallenhoffer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Damien Fenton

  28. 4 out of 5

    William

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liliana

  30. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Hammer

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