"By understanding the dramatic story of the Ottoman Empire-from its early years as a collection of raiders and conquerors to its undeniable power in the 15th and 16th centuries to its catastrophic collapse in the wreckage of the First World War-one can better grasp the current complexities of the Middle East. Over the course of these 36 enlightening lectures, investigate over 600 years of history that covers the nature of Ottoman identity, the achievements of the Sultan's court, and stories of confrontation and cooperation with the West. Befitting a story of such epic scope and grandeur, every lecture is a treasure trove of historical insights into the people, events, themes, and locales responsible for shaping the story of this often-overlooked empire. You'll cover everything from Rumi, the whirling dervishes, and the importance of the sultan's grand viziers to the wars of Sultan Suleiman I, the shadowy politics of the Committee of Union and Progress, and the birth of the Turkish Republic under Kemal Ataturk. Welcome to a fascinating story of the triumph and tragedy, war and peace, intellectual progress and civil insurrection of a great empire that, for all its glory and grandeur, has left an important legacy that will shape the future of the Balkan nation-states, the Turkish Republic, and the Arab world - and those of us in the West as well. "