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

James Reston, Jr., Author Penguin Press $29.95 (407p) ISBN 978-1-59420-225-4

In this vibrant piece of intellectual history, Reston completes the saga of the relationship between East and West he began with Warriors of God . Combining a historian's attention to detail and a novelist's narrative flair, Reston focuses on the period when the Ottoman Empire came within a hair's breadth of conquering Europe. The Sultan Suleyman swore to accomplish what his father and grandfather had not—conquer the Holy Roman Empire. Standing in his way was an equally ambitious leader, the young Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. As Reston observes, each faced rebellion and fractiousness within his own empire. Although Charles defeated Suleyman at Güns, now in Hungary, the Turks had spread terror through Europe by moving farther into Christian lands than ever before. By examining this short but crucial span of years, Reston not only brings to life two “Olympian” figures who believed they were carrying out the will of God; he also offers a lucid window onto Renaissance Europe and the foundations of contemporary debates between the West and Islam. (May 18)

Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 407 pages - 978-0-14-311759-9
Show other formats
Discover what to read next