Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536

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Penguin Press, 2009 - History - 407 pages
32 Reviews
A bestselling historian recounts sixteen years that shook the world- the epic clash between Europe and the Ottoman Turks that ended the Renaissance and brought Islam to the gates of Vienna

In the bestselling Warriors of Godand Dogs of God, James Reston, Jr., limned two epochal conflicts between Islam and Christendom. Here he examines the ultimate battle in that centuries-long war, which found Europe at its most vulnerable and Islam on the attack. This drama was propelled by two astonishing young sovereigns: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Turkish sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Though they represented two colliding worlds, they were remarkably similar. Each was a poet and cultured cosmopolitan; each was the most powerful man on his continent; each was called "Defender of the Faith"; and each faced strident religious rebellion in his domain. Charles was beset by the "heresy" of Martin Luther and his fervid adherents, even while tensions between him and the pope threatened to boil over, and the upstart French king Francis I harried Charles's realm by land and sea. Suleyman was hardly more comfortable on his throne. He had earned his crown by avoiding the grim Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide. Shiites in the East were fighting off the Sunni Turks' cruel repression of their "heresy." The ferocity and skill of Suleyman's Janissaries had expanded the Ottoman Empire to its greatest extent ever, but these slave soldiers became rebellious when foreign wars did not engage them.

With Europe newly hobbled and the Turks suffused with restless vigor, the stage was set for a drama that unfolded from Hungary to Rhodes and ultimately to Vienna itself, which both sides thought the Turks could win. If that happened, it was generally agreed that Europe would become Muslim as far west as the Rhine.

During these same years, Europe was roiled by constant internal tumult that saw, among other spectacles, the Diet of Worms, the Sack of Rome, and an actual wrestling match between the English and French monarchs in which Henry VIII's pride was badly hurt. Would-could-this fractious continent be united to repulse a fearsome enemy?

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Review: Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536

User Review  - Jimmy - Goodreads

A lot happened in those two decades of the 16th Century. I didn't realize all that was going on. If you add Henry VIII and his problems with his wives, Suleiman the Great invading Europe (and almost ... Read full review

Review: Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536

User Review  - A. Sacit - Goodreads

What a circus! What a charade! Hypocrisy, deception, treachery, romance.. you name it.. This book has them all and reads like a thriller.. This book is more about Pope, Martin Luther, Emperor Charles ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

James Reston, Jr., is the author of fourteen previous books, including Warriors of God, Dogs of God, Galileo: A Life, and The Conviction of Richard Nixon. Winner of the Prix Italia and the Dupont-Columbia Award for his 1983 documentary, “Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown,” his books have been translated into thirteen languages.

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