My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ghost Empire ranks among the best books I’ve read this year. Richard Fidler brings to life the history of the Byzantium Empire. Many aspects of this history are mind-boggling and give the reader a deeper understanding of the present situation in Syria, Turkey, and the whole Middle East. Richard Fidler shows that, really, there is nothing new in the dreadful war situation there. The cruelty, the massacres, the subjugation of people were, it seems, always happening. Starting with Constantine who renamed Byzantium, Constantinople in his own honour in the year 330, right through to the sacking of Constantinople by the Ottoman Emperor, Mehmed, in 1453, thus bringing about the end of the Roman empire.
I originally heard about this book when Richard Fidler was interviewed (by Gillan O’Shaugnessy) on the local radio station here in Western Australia (ABC720). He explained how he and his son Joe, travelled first to Rome and then to Istanbul to follow the traces of the Byzantine Empire. How Fidler weaves the story of his travels with the history is masterful. Richard Fidler is, himself, an interviewer of note and there are many listeners who seldom miss his daily interview.
I recommend this book to anyone who may have even the slightest interest in the present situation and the conflict that affects nearly all of us one way or another.