The Ottoman Empire's conquest of the remnants of the Byzantine Empire and large parts of the Balkans was one the most impressive and long lasting military achievements of the late middle ages. Unlike most other rapidly created empires of the period, the Ottoman conquests were long lasting, and their empire survived until the end of the First World War.
One thing I didn't realize was how closely matched the Ottomans and Byzantines were for much of the fourteenth century, or how much of Greece the Byzantines had lost before the Ottomans appeared on the scene.
This is not just a military history. Nicolle also includes large sections on Ottoman society & culture, the nature of Ottoman towns and villages and even the different styles of art.
The book is structured chronologically with digressions onto other topics, so it is possible to follow the course of events, while at the same time getting an idea of the wider context.
1 - A Chaotic Background
2 - Byzantine and Balkan Complexity
3 - Aegean Crusaders and Naval Crusades
4 - Religion and the Sword
5 - Turks, Nomads and Peasants
6 - Byzantine Life and Balkan Rivalries
7 - The Ottomans' First European Conquests - A New Way of Life
8 - The Rise of Serbia and the Decline of Byzantium
9 - From Empire to Empire - Byzantine and Ottoman Government
10 - Prelude to Disaster
11 - Humbling the Crusaders
12 - The Ottomans Face Catastrophe
13 - The Ottomans Survice
14 - An Islamic Empire in Europe
15 - The Failed Christian Counterattack
16 - Vassalage and Renaissance
17 - The Ottomanization of Anatolia
18 - Mehmet Closes in on Constantinople
19 - Preparing for the Siege
20 - The Conquest of Constantinople
21 - Greece Falls to the Turks
22 - Venetians and Ottomans
23 - The Ottomans Fortify their Empire
Author: David Nicolle
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military