Long before they came as occupiers, the British were drawn to the Middle East by the fabled riches of its trade and the enlightened tolerance of its people. The pashas - merchants and travellers from Europe - discovered an Islamic world that was alluring, dynamic and diverse. Ranging across two and a half centuries and through the great cities of Istanbul, Aleppo and Alexandria, James Mather tells the forgotten story of the men of the Levant Company who sought their fortunes in the Ottoman Empire.
'Wonderful ... Mather excels at portraying the everyday life of the Englishmen who joined the Levant Company ... The importance of this excellent and balanced study cannot be underestimated.' William Dalrymple, The Observer
'Vivid and well-written.' Linda Colley, Times Literary Supplement
Publisher: Yale University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 356 g
Dimensions: 198 x 130 x 17 mm
"'A most impressive book, which vividly and humanely depicts a period when encounters between Christians and Muslims took a very different form from the so-called 'clash of civilizations' which so distorts and disfigures our perspective on these relationships today. The result is a major historical work, which also conveys a brave, powerful and hopeful contemporary message.' (David Cannadine) 'James Mather's wonderful book is the first full-length study since 1935... the importance of this excellent and balanced study cannot be underestimated.' (William Dalrymple, The Observer) 'Mather has written an impressively researched, imposing yet affectionate history.' (Barnaby Rogerson, Independent) 'Vivid and well-written.' (Linda Colley, Times Literary Supplement) 'James Mather has brilliantly stepped into the breach... Mather whisks the reader into the souks and khans of the Ottoman empire, evoking at once a sense of place and a real feel for the pleasures and profits that characterised the pashas' careers... Mather makes a forceful case, and an appealing well-written one at that.' (Maya Jasanoff, The Guardian) 'James Mather's intricate and entertaining study of English merchants in the Empire... is hugely helpful in making that tradition intelligible and explaining what later became of it... He is excellent on everything he covers, and equally good and commendably pithy on economics, the technicalities of commerce (especially shipping), and the diplomatic and intellectual dimensions of the story. He paints a vivid picture... an elegant, learned and illuminating book.' (Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Literary Review)"