This illustrated volume presents the portraits of the thirty-six rulers of the Ottoman Empire, from Osman I Gazi to Mehmet VI. The tale of their lives and of the major events during their rule follows the development of a small border principality into a powerful empire spreading over three continents, incorporating in its heyday an immense territory and a wide variety of peoples, to pass through its long and painful disintegration and come to its inevitable collapse in the early 20th century. What kind of people were the sultans? What did they look like? How did they act as statesmen and in their private life? What were their merits and vices? How did they become all-powerful lords or mere toys in the hands of their advisors? The unbiased tale of the life of these persons who bore the burden of power is effectively the history of the Ottoman Empire -- pathetic and proud, cruel and genuine, with its ups and downs, entwining the fate of many peoples and nations and leaving an indelible if ambiguous mark in the annals of humankind.
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