Henk Boom

The Great Turk

In the footsteps of Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566)

Under Suleiman the Magnificent, Turkey enjoyed its Golden Age. The Ottoman Empire stretched from the Danube to the Euphrates, the Tigris and the Nile. For his biography of the sultan, Henk Boom spoke to historians and innumerable other specialists in Rhodes, Budapest, Vienna, Sarajevo and Istanbul, places where the Great Turk left a rich heritage. He demonstrates convincingly that the influence Suleiman had on Europe persists right up to the present day.

Suleiman, the son of a Bosnian slave girl, ascended the throne in 1520, shortly before Charles v became Habsburg emperor. The two rulers engaged in a dogged battle for European hegemony, but Suleiman was not just a successful warlord, he was fair, tolerant and a true patron of the arts. All over the Empire, splendid buildings arose and his court architect Sinan gave Constantinople a completely new face, with the Süleymaniye Mosque as one of its most impressive features.

Suleiman’s love for his harem wife Roxelana has sparked the imaginations of many writers and film directors. Boom describes the sultan’s life and world not as a scientist but as an investigative journalist. The result is a lively and engrossing book.

*The Great Turk *is far more than just a biography. Playfully, along the way, Boom offers all kinds of insights into Ottoman history and culture, and Europe’s constantly shifting evaluation of them.

NRC Handelsblad

Boom has written his book for a broad readership, and very successfully so.



Henk Boom

Henk Boom writes for several newspapers and is the author of 1506. A journey through the world of Erasmus, Machiavelli, Jeroen Bosch, Da Vinci and Joanna the Mad, which has been translated into Spanish. The Great Turk was nominated for the prestigious ako Literature Prize.…

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De Grote Turk. In het voetspoor van Suleyman de Prachtlievende 1494-1566 (2010). Non-fiction, 343 pages.
Words: 132,000
Copies sold: 2,000

With illustrations in colour and references

Themes: history


Panorama Holland 8


Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

[email protected]

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