In the spring of 1565, a massive fleet of Ottoman ships descended on Malta, a small island centrally located between North Africa and Sicily, home and headquarters of the crusading Knights of St. John and their charismatic Grand Master, Jean de Valette. The Knights had been expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, and now stood as the last bastion against a Muslim invasion of Sicily, southern Italy, and beyond. The siege force of Turks, Arabs, and Barbary corsairs from across the Muslim world outnumbered the defenders of Malta many times over, and its arrival began a long hot summer of bloody combat, often hand to hand, embroiling knights and mercenaries, civilians and slaves, in a desperate struggle for this pivotal point in the Mediterranean. Bruce Ware Allen's The Great Siege of Malta describes the siege’s geopolitical context, explains its strategies and tactics, and reveals how the all-too-human personalities of both Muslim and Christian leaders shaped the course of events. The siege of Malta was the Ottoman empire’s high-water mark in the war between the Christian West and the Muslim East for control of the Mediterranean. Drawing on copious research and new source material, Allen stirringly recreates the two factions’ heroism and chivalry, while simultaneously tracing the barbarism, severity, and indifference to suffering of sixteenth-century warfare. The Great Siege of Malta is a fresh, vivid retelling of one of the most famous battles of the early modern world—a battle whose echoes are still felt today.
Tiber: Eternal River of Rome
Bruce Ware Allen University Press of New England, 2018 Library of Congress DG975.T5A45 2019 | Dewey Decimal 945.632
In this rich history of Italy’s Tiber River, Bruce Ware Allen charts the main currents, mythic headwaters, and hidden tributaries of one of the world’s most renowned waterways. He considers life along the river, from its twin springs high in the Apennines all the way to its mouth at Ostia, and describes the people who lived along its banks and how they made the Tiber work for them. The Tiber has served as the realm of protomythic creatures and gods, a battleground for armies and navies, a livelihood for boatmen and fishermen, the subject matter of poets and painters, and the final resting place for criminals and martyrs. Tiber: Eternal River of Rome is a highly readable history and a go-to resource for information about Italy’s most storied river.