Try free for 2 months

  • Istanbul

  • A Tale of Three Cities
  • By: Bettany Hughes
  • Narrated by: Bettany Hughes
  • Length: 24 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.
Istanbul cover art

Istanbul

By: Bettany Hughes
Narrated by: Bettany Hughes
Try for $0.00

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $43.99

Buy Now for $43.99

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu'ran to Shakespeare, this city with three names - Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul - resonates as an idea and a place, and overspills its boundaries - real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history it was known simply as The City, but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city, but a story. 

In this epic new biography, Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world's greatest cities. As the longest-lived political entity in Europe, over the last 6,000 years Istanbul has absorbed a mosaic of micro-cities and cultures all gathering around the core. At the latest count archaeologists have measured forty-two human habitation layers. Phoenicians, Genoese, Venetians, Jews, Vikings, Azeris all called a patch of this earth their home. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate and scholarly narrative history at its finest.

Written and read by Bettany Hughes

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2016 Bettany Hughes (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group Limited
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

'Life-filled and life-affirming history, steeped in romance and written with verve' GUARDIAN 

'Richly entertaining and impeccably researched' Peter Frankopan

What listeners say about Istanbul

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book and audio book.

This is a spectacular book. Istanbul is one of those rare places on Earth where the implications of its thousands of years of history are still entirely relevant to its culture and the challenges it faces today. Bettany tells us its history in a well thought out and compelling manner. It will almost certainly change your perspective on this city and its people.

I would not hesitate to purchase this as an audiobook. Bettany's passion for her project is made clear not just by the detail in her book, but by the engaging delivery in her reading.

I think it is essential listening for anyone who has an interest in history because the story is delivered in such a dynamic manner. It will appeal to both young and old readers.

If, like me, Istanbul and Turkey have a special place in your heart, this book will take you on an unforgettable journey. All the same, if you have never given Istanbul's history a second thought, you're in for a tremendous surprise.

I am now eagerly awaiting any future releases from Bettany. Well done.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Byzantine in a good way!

This must have been a monumental task. A history of any period is full of corridors and dark corners to explore, let alone three millennia of fascinating and often convoluted events of mind-boggling complexity. Such an endeavour would drown the average historian in the abyss of the Marmara Sea. (Which is 500 metres deep, by the way.) Somehow, Bettany Hughes managed to stay on task. She must have a vicious editor, either that or be very disciplined in her own decision-making on what was essential to the overall driving narrative.
If you are expecting a Martin Gilbert like blow-by-blow without analysis, this is not the book for you. For Byzantium, Constantinople or Istanbul, you will need a Bodleian library of books for that kind of detail. Also, a working knowledge of Latin, Greek and Turkish would help if that's the way you want to go. However, this is a work of skill and passion which attempts to link the present with the past smoothly without tipping you up in the cracks in the mosaic floors.
As for narrative performance, Bettany has a very clear English voice, but very occasionally drops it for emphasis, rather than projecting it. I had to repeat passages to catch it. Projection is an actor's skill that could be quickly learned. Apart from that, it is a job well done.
I enjoyed this bird's eye view of the panorama that is Istanbul. With listening to history, you have to be quick to look up the maps and references to certain events or persons that pique your interest. One good addition to the next supplementary PDF would be some maps.
But for these tiny annoyances, I would have given it five stars.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating City

A fascinating history of a city straddling many worlds. With many influences, it was interesting to learn the many different stories that have contributed to the city we know today.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.