Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities

Da Capo: Perseus. Sept. 2017. 856p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780306825842. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780306825859. HIST
Author, filmmaker, and documentarian Hughes (Helen of Troy; The Hemlock Cup) demonstrates a passionate and keen eye for detail in her newest book covering the history of Istanbul from its classical origins to the modern era. Despite its heft and tendency to delve into so much nuance that even the diet of Constantinople's citizens in the late 900s CE is shared, this work is eminently readable and thorough. Hughes balances especially well a study of one city with the commentary of greater time periods and historic events taking place simultaneously around the world; the rich, cultural, religious, and social presence of Istanbul's complex tale lends itself as an excellent focus.
VERDICT A timely work, given current events, and a powerful testimony to Istanbul's impact on culture, society, and religion over time. Historians and lay readers alike will find this a welcome addition.

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