Thursday, 2 July 2015

Harem: The World Behind the Veil - Alev Lytle Croutier


Harem: The World Behind the Veil is the 25th anniversary republishing of Alev Lytle Croutier's 1989 book by the same name. It delves into the history of the old harems (primarily in Turkey), their purpose, how and why they were formed, the women who lived in them, the eunuchs who ran them, and the sultans who ruled over it all. Complete with historical accounts, referenced paintings and drawings, as well as letters, documents, and all manner of the limited evidence—Harem is virtually an encyclopedia of information on the mysteries of the gilded Ottoman existence many were tied to.

When I initially selected Harem, I admit I was expecting a cool fictional story and not a non-fiction book. In a haste that was prompted by my excitement of the Grand Odalisque on the cover, my fingers clicked "download" before my eyes went to the actual description. But it wasn't a waste. Some of the historical accounts included by Alev Lytle Croutier certainly read like a good fiction, and for all we know, a few of them are. There is hardly anything left to tell us what the real harems were like, but what we do know (or think we know) has been collected by Croutier and nicely packaged into her manuscript. I would give this book five stars, but the quality of writing occasionally lets the content down. Recommended.


Amazon Link: Harem: The World Behind the Veil

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

No comments:

Post a Comment