If the errors committed in the building of the edifice of Western civilization are compared with Plato’s ideal Republic and the perfect State, protected by intelligent but disinterested Guardians and ruled by equally disinterested and totally just Philosopher-kings, then Western civilization loses hands down.(1) But as Aristotle pointed out in his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, man is subject to errors and thus such ideal utopias created by real men are unworkable and nonexistent.(2) Despite over two millennia of history, no such state has ever been created, and the half-baked facsimiles
Suleiman the Magnificent — Scourge of Heaven by Antony Bridge is an engaging, but not exhaustive, narrative of the major events in the life and times of the great Ottoman Sultan Suleiman (r. 1520-1566). I was not disappointed in this book, which reads like a charming storybook. The tome is at times suspenseful, always informative, and frequently suitably illustrated, including excellent illustrative maps.
Soldiers of Fortune — The Story of the Mamlukes (1973) is another undiscovered gem of a book by a scholar, historian, author, and soldier, a British Lieutenant General, Sir John B. Glubb (1897-1986), better known as Glubb Pasha by the Arabs he commanded in the Middle East in his many years of service while in the British army. The tome is a masterpiece of research on a topic little known to students of history — arcane, indeed, to most Western scholars and historians!
I apologize in advance to those here who have already assiduously learned these Medieval history lessons and find them redundant in their intellectual ordnance. If you already know about the Inquisition, the Crusades — and their historic relationship to Western civilization, please skip this post!