From the etymology of pastrami (the under-saddle meat rations of "nomadic horse-archers") to ancient Ottoman terms such as adamsendecilik ("being messed around pointlessly by someone in authority"), Stone brings a linguist's delight as well a historian's sweep to this enjoyable, opinionated canter through the past of an adopted country he much admires.
The maverick scholar teases and pleases as he speeds through the Ottomans' rise and fall, and Turkey's return to regional supremacy. Unbiased? By no means. But Stone never writes a dull or soggy paragraph.