The Enemy at the Gate

The Enemy at the Gate

Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe

Book - 2009
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Perseus Publishing
In 1683, an Ottoman army that stretched from horizon to horizon set out to seize the ?Golden Apple,” as Turks referred to Vienna. The ensuing siege pitted battle-hardened Janissaries wielding seventeenth-century grenades against Habsburg armies, widely feared for their savagery. The walls of Vienna bristled with guns as the besieging Ottoman host launched bombs, fired cannons, and showered the populace with arrows during the battle for Christianity’s bulwark. Each side was sustained by the hatred of its age-old enemy, certain that victory would be won by the grace of God.

The Great Siege of Vienna is the centerpiece for historian Andrew Wheatcroft’s richly drawn portrait of the centuries-long rivalry between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires for control of the European continent. A gripping work by a master historian, The Enemy at the Gate offers a timely examination of an epic clash of civilizations.

Book News
During the Reformation, one of the few things Catholics and Protestants could agree on was their mutual terror that the Ottoman Empire would conquer Christian Europe. In this study of the 1683 siege of Vienna, Wheatcroft (international publishing and communication, University of Stirling) the fear that drove the defenders of the city to finally repulse the Turkish army is a constant backdrop. The story is told as a military narrative in which the participants and events are portrayed in an almost cinematic style. Wheatcroft dispels myths that have grown up about the siege and adds an epilogue on relations between Austria-Hungary and Turkey after the end of the war. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2009
ISBN: 9780465013746
Branch Call Number: 943.613 WHEAT
Characteristics: xxv, 339 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, plans ; 24 cm
Notes: Originally published: London : Bodley Head, 2008


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Feb 28, 2017

Enjoyable book for anyone who likes military history. About half focuses on the battle itself. The remainder sets the stage by explaining briefly the history of these two empires, their leaders, their tactics, and finally the aftermath of the battle. You'll enjoy the book more if you have a basic understanding of military tactics from the period - for example, if you know that "guns" in this context refers to cannons, not to muskets.

Oct 13, 2012

Excellent narrative. Describes the battles of the Habsburg and Turks for dominion of Eastern Europe. Very informative and a good read.


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