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Adventures with the Ottomans

An entertaining travel book is packed with extraordinary true stories

By Suna Erdem   December 2018
Lost histories: the chief black eunuch of the Ottoman Harem, 1912 © Wikipedia

Lost histories: the chief black eunuch of the Ottoman Harem, 1912 © Wikipedia

Alexander Pushkin’s great-grandfather was kidnapped from west Africa and served in the court of Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III, when, aged six, he was given as a gift to Peter the Great. Alev Scott’s informative and entertaining book is packed with similar extraordinary true stories.

Dotted through the narrative are quirky references to the wide Ottoman-descended diaspora: figures from Boris Johnson (Turkish great-grandfather publicly lynched for…

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