Gábor ÁgostonOct 13, 2021
The Last Muslim Conquest
The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe
Princeton University Press 2021
The image of the Ottoman Turks and their interaction with the Christian West, has undergone many changes in the past: from William Gladstone's famous comment that: “[The Turks] one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.” To the more recent revisionist views of the 'cultural exchange' school, who de-emphasize the military conquest, endemic violence and proto-ethnic cleansing that were in fact part and parcel of Ottoman rule in the Balkans and elsewhere. And, instead emphasize cultural interaction between the Christian West and the Muslim East.
In his new book The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe (Princeton UP, 2021), Ottoman specialist, Professor Gabor Agoston, of Georgetown University, goes beyond both of the above schools, in a post-revisionist treatment which while not ignoring some aspects of the 'cultural exchange' school, retains the correct emphasize on Ottoman Turk policies of military conquest, violence and expansionism in the Balkans and elsewhere. In a treatment which depends upon rich stream of research in Ottoman Turkish archives as well as elsewhere, Professor Agoston provides the reader with an in depth analysis of the military structure that made the Ottoman Turks one of the great, military and imperial powers of the 16th and 17th centuries. And why that power's failure to adapt, eventually resulted in its long decline and eventual fall. In short, Professor Agoston's treatment is a splendid work, aimed at both the academic and the lay educated audience. A sheer delight to read.
Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.