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John Freely books on Turkey

Istanbul: The Imperial City Feb 26, 1998
by John Freely

Istanbul’s history is a catalogue of change, not least of name, yet it has managed to retain its own unique identity. John Freely captures the flavour of daily life as well as court ceremonial and intrigue. The book also includes a comprehensive gazetteer of all major monuments and museums. An in-depth study of this legendary city through its many different ages from its earliest foundation to the present day – the perfect traveller’s companion and guide.

Blue Guide Istanbul (e-Edition) Nov 26, 2012
by John Freely

Long-awaited new edition of the Blue Guide to this fascinating city, which straddles Europe and the Orient and whose history goes back to the days of ancient Greece. Superb coverage of all the major monuments, Classical, Christian and Islamic, with details on how to get around a busy city, what to eat and where to stay.

John Freely was born in the United States. He is a long-term resident of Istanbul and has written a number of books on Greece and Turkey.

Light from the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam helped to shape the Western World Dec 18, 2010

Long before the European Renaissance, while the western world was languishing in what was once called the ‘Dark Ages’, the Arab world was ablaze with the knowledge, invention and creativity of its Golden Age. This is the story of how Islamic science, which began with the translation of Greek manuscripts into Arabic in eighth-century Baghdad, preserved and enhanced the knowledge acquired from Greece, Mesopotamia, India and China. Through the astrologers, physicians, philosophers, mathematicians and alchemists of the Muslim world, this knowledge was carried from Samarkand and Baghdad to Cordoba and beyond, influencing western thinkers from Thomas Aquinas and Copernicus and helping to inspire the cultural phenomenon of the Renaissance. John Freely tells this spellbinding story against a background of the melting pot of cultures involved and concludes with the decline of Islam’s Golden Age, which led the West to forget the debt it owed to the Muslim world and the influence of medieval Islamic civilisation in forging the beginnings of modern science.

The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II-Conqueror of Constantinople and Master of an Empire Oct 1, 2009
by John Freely

Sultan Mehmet II, known to his countrymen as ‘the Conqueror’ and to much of Europe as ‘the Terror of the World,’ was once Europe’s most feared and powerful ruler. Now, Turkey?s most beloved American scholar, John Freely, brings to life this charismatic hero of one of the richest histories in the world. Mehmet was barely twenty-one when he conquered Byzantine Constantinople, which became Istanbul and the capital of his mighty empire. Mehmet reigned for thirty years, during which time his armies extended the borders of his empire halfway across Asia Minor and as far into Europe as Hungary and Italy. Three popes called for crusades against him as Christian Europe came face to face with a new Muslim empire. Revered by the Turks and seen as a brutal tyrant by the West, Mehmet was a brilliant military leader as well as a renaissance prince. His court housed Persian and Turkish poets, Arab and Greek astronomers, and Italian scholars and artists. In the first biography of Mehmet in thirty years, John Freely vividly illuminates the man behind the myths.

Stamboul Sketches: Encounters in Old Istanbul Feb 3, 2015
by John Freely

Throughout the 1960s, John Freely explored the alleys, hidden corners and monuments of Istanbul, in between teaching, to create a legendary guidebook with Hilary Sumner-Boyd. But all the passages that were too personal, too capricious, too idiosyncratic, too indulgent of eccentric personalities, too wrapped up in the love of mid-afternoon banter, too indulgent of musicians, dancers, gypsies, dervishes, drunks, beggars, fishermen, poets, fortune-tellers, folk-healers, mimics and prostitutes, were cut from their scholarly guide. Stamboul Sketches is fashioned from these off-cuts, a chronicle of chance encounters inspired by Evliya Çelebi, the Pepys of seventeenth-century Istanbul. It is a beautiful, quirky portrait of a city, which, Freely says, ‘grabs you by the heart and never lets you go’.

Aladdin’s Lamp Feb 17, 2009
by John Freely

Aladdin’s Lamp is the fascinating story of how ancient Greek philosophy and science began in the sixth century B.C. and, during the next millennium, spread across the Greco-Roman world, producing the remarkable discoveries and theories of Thales, Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, Galen, Ptolemy, and many others. John Freely explains how, as the Dark Ages shrouded Europe, scholars in medieval Baghdad translated the works of these Greek thinkers into Arabic, spreading their ideas throughout the Islamic world from Central Asia to Spain, with many Muslim scientists, most notably Avicenna, Alhazen, and Averroës, adding their own interpretations to the philosophy and science they had inherited. Freely goes on to show how, beginning in the twelfth century, these texts by Islamic scholars were then translated from Arabic into Latin, sparking the emergence of modern science at the dawn of the Renaissance, which climaxed in the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century.

La llama de Mileto: El nacimiento de la ciencia en la Antigua Grecia (Alianza Ensayo nº 813) (Spanish Edition) Apr 29, 2021
by John Freely, Magalí Martínez Solimán

En el siglo VI a. C. la ciudad griega de Mileto, situada en la costa occidental de Anatolia, fue el epicentro desde el que se desencadenó la revolución intelectual que sentaría las bases para el desarrollo de nuestro conocimiento moderno del mundo. Trazando
un hilo que recorre cerca de dos mil años de historia desde Tales de Mileto hasta Newton, John Freely narra el apasionante relato de la ciencia griega desde su nacimiento en la costa egea de Asia Menor, pasando por su consolidación en la Atenas clásica y el mundo helenístico y la preservación de su legado en el mundo islámico medieval y Bizancio, hasta su recuperación definitiva como fundamento de las nuevas formas de saber que, condensadas en torno a nuestra moderna concepción de la ciencia, verían la luz en la Europa del siglo XVII.

Children of Achilles: The Greeks in Asia Minor since the Days of Troy Nov 12, 2009
by John Freely

Since the days of Troy historic lands of Asia Minor have been home to Greeks. They are steeped in a rich fusion of Greek and Turkish culture and the histories of both are irrevocably entwined, fatefully connected. “Children of Achilles” tells the epic and ultimately tragic story of the Greek presence in Anatolia, beginning with the Trojan War and culminating in 1923 with the devastating population exchange that followed the Turkish War of Independence. The once magnificent, now ruined, cities that cluster along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey are reminders of a civilization that produced the first Hellenic enlightenment, giving birth to Homer, Herodotus and the first philosophers of nature. For more three millennia the Anatolian Greeks preserved their identity and culture as the tides of history washed over them, enduring conflicts that historians since Herodotus have seen as an unending clash of civilizations between East and West.
Today, the memory of the Greek diaspora from Asia Minor lives on in the music of rebetika, the threnodies known as amanadas, and the poetry of Seferis, and even now the descendants of those exiles speak with nostalgia of ‘i kath’imas Anatoli’ – our own Anatolia, their lost homeland. This, told for the first time, is their story, from glorious beginnings to a bitter end, a story that continues to echo through the ages and across continents.

The House of Memory: Reflections on Youth and War Mar 7, 2017
by John Freely

In this funny and tender memoir, John Freely reflects on a remarkable life. Splitting his early childhood between the U.S. and Ireland inspired in Freely a lifelong desire to see the world and its inhabitants. At age six he settled in Brooklyn, where he spent a sometimes tumultuous boyhood amidst a large extended family: moving from house to house, the family’s belongings packed in an uncle’s hearse. Growing up poor, in his teens, Freely took whatever jobs he could when times got tough, always shaking off his losses and moving on, hungry for new experiences and adventures. He joined the U.S. Navy at seventeen to “see the world” and did just that. As a member of an elite commando unit, he was sent to one of the most remote places in Asia where he served alongside Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese forces during the last weeks of World War II. A vivid recollection on a world that now exists only in memory, The House of Memory is a lasting tribute to a life well lived, and to all of the immigrant families who have struggled, endured, and enriched our country.

Strolling Through Istanbul (Kegan Paul Travellers Series) May 6, 2016
by Sumner-Boyd

A Travel Guide to Homer: On the Trail of Odysseus Through Turkey and the Mediterranean Apr 21, 2014
by John Freely

In October 1945 at the age of 19, John Freely passed the southernmost tip of Crete on his way home from the war in China, just as Odysseus did on his homeward voyage from the battle of Troy. He has been bewitched by Homer and the lands of Homer’s epics ever since. As the culmination of a life spent exploring both these lands and the stories by, and connected to, Homer, Freely has created a captivating traveller’s guide to Homer’s lost world and to his epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, investigating where such places as the Land of the Lotus Eaters are and what it was about the landscapes of Greece and Turkey that so inspired Homer – the greatest classical epic poet. With unparalleled knowledge and passion, John Freely guides the traveller through all of those places linked to Homer that can be identified and brings Homer and his world vividly to life, revealing how the Homeric epics continue to echo through the ages in literature, art, legend and folklore.

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