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Guardian Review of Istanbul

Fortunately for today’s readers, the historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes has [an] outlook, sufficiently wide to encompass everything from the earliest spear-carrying bronze age inhabitants to marauding ancient Greeks, Christian-slaughtering Roman emperors, pious Byzantine ascetics, world-conquering Ottomans and hatchet-faced 20th-century nationalists. She populates her three cities of Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul with a rich and dizzying cast of ordinary and extraordinary men and women...This is a historical narrative brimming with brio and incident. Hughes' portraits are written with a zesty flourish...One wonders whom she could possibly be thinking of in 10 Downing Street or The White House when she concludes that "to know Istanbul is to know what it is to be cosmopolitan - this is a city that reminds us that we are, indeed, citizens of the world." Istanbul a visceral, pulsating city...In Bettany Hughes' life-filled and life-affirming history, steeped in romance and written with verve, it has found a sympathetic and engaging champion.'

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