Suggested Reading List
1453, The Holy War For Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
Author: Roger Crowley
Description: In this well-paced history, Crowley recounts with drama the events surrounding the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.
A Short History of Byzantium
Author: John Julius Norwich
Description: A richly detailed and evocative history of the span of the great empire from the fourth to the 15th century, brimming with intrigue, palace revolution and treachery.
Ancient Turkey, A Traveller's History
Author: Seton Lloyd
Description: A lively tale of cultures and conquest, from the Hittites to St. Paul, that illuminates the living past of Turkey's archaeological treasures. This classic by professor Lloyd, first director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, is now in a 25th anniversary edition.
Author: Neal Ascherson
Description: In this skillful portrait of a region, Ascherson weaves his own travels and impressions with a fascinating account of the Black Sea's history. From ancient mythology to modern politics, he admirably never loses sight of the sea itself.
Borderland, A Journey through the History of Ukraine
Author: Anna Reid
Description: Reid, who was for three years the Kiev correspondent for The Economist, combines first-person reports, interviews and history in this vivid portrait of the region and its people. With chapters on Kiev and Odessa.
Bradt Guide Ukraine
Author: Andrew Evans
Description: This guide in the popular British series features comprehensive practical information and provides a short section on the country's history and culture. With over 30 maps.
Byzantium, The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire
Author: Judith Herrin
Description: Herrin captures the glory, accomplishments, personalities, cruelty and import of Byzantium from the foundation of Constantinople to its capture by the Ottoman Turks in 1463.
Crescent and Star
Author: Stephen Kinzer
Description: This insightful, anecdotal report on contemporary life, culture and politics in Turkey comes from a former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief who is especially attuned to the powerful geographic position of Turkey and its multiple identities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Eyewitness Guide Istanbul
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: This superb guide to Istanbul features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.
Istanbul, Memories and the City
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Description: Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk writes with dazzling grace of the city of his birth, a magical place of crumbling mansions and Ottoman riches.
Lords of the Horizons
Author: Jason Goodwin
Description: Goodwin artfully combines his modern travels with scholarship, history and reflection, capturing the outrageous personalities, events and vagaries of the 600-year-old Ottoman empire.
Noah's Flood, The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event That Changed History
Author: William Ryan, Walter Pitman
Description: Yes, there was a flood! So report the scientist-authors in this vivid account of the geology of the Black Sea. They draw on biblical history, marine geology, archaeology and mythology to demonstrate that the Black Sea was breached by the Mediterranean 7,600 years ago.
Odessa, Genius and Death in a City of Dreams
Author: Charles King
Description: King (Black Sea, The Moldovans) writes with verve not only of the history of this great port city but also of noteworthy personalities, including Alexander Pushkin, Isaac Babel and Nobel Prize-winning biologist Ilya Mechnikov.
Russia, A Concise History
Author: Ronald Hingley
Description: Well-known scholar Hingley sketches Russia's multiple transformations from her illiterate, pagan, Slavic roots to a multi-ethnic empire in this highly readable, well-illustrated brief history.
The Black Sea, A History
Author: Charles King
Description: A brisk history of the region, showing the Black Sea as uniting diverse cultures in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel
Author: Isaac Babel
Description: An authoritative edition of Isaac Babel's powerful short fiction, including his early Red Cavalry Stories and The Odessa Tales.
The Fall of Constantinople 1453
Author: Steven Runciman
Description: A classic, wonderfully written history of the fall of Constantinople in 1493 and its consequences. Runciman, a noted British scholar, draws on many sources, both Greek and Muslim, in tracing this fateful time in the history of the city. Originally published in 1965.
The Towers of Trebizond
Author: Rose MacAulay, Jan Morris (Introduction)
Description: Mixing high farce, archaeology, history and lively travel writing, Rose MacAulay's impossibly witty short novel is back in a new edition. Originally published in 1956, MacAulay follows the adventures of English missionaries traipsing across Turkey from Istanbul to Trabzon.
Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place
Author: Mary Lee Settle
Description: Settle's captivating travelogue is a richly detailed portrait of contemporary Turkey, its people, monasteries, myths, archaeological treasures and living traditions. Exemplary.
Women in Purple, Rulers of Medieval Byzantium
Author: Judith Herrin
Description: Herrin describes the complex and deeply religious world of Constantinople in the aftermath of Arab conquest, focusing on three Byzantine empresses’ work to restore icons to a prominent position in Eastern Christian worship. An enlightening portrait of three all-powerful women who changed history.