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Reviews of Memoirs of a Janissary

“This fascinating chronicle and memoirs of a single individual living in the fifteenth century serves as a wider history on the age, reflecting the multiple overlays and ever-shifting linguistic and ethnic identities of the Ottoman Empire’s many subject peoples. As a Serbian boy drafted into service by a warlord ally of Sultan Mehmet II, Mihailović witnessed the 1453 fall of Constantinople from the winning side. Following his subsequent training in the elite Janissary corps, he took part for eight years in both court ceremony at [Topkapı] and battles at Trebizond and in the Balkans, including those against the Ottomans’ legendary Albanian foe, Skanderburg, and the ruler of Wallachia, Vlad the Impaler (later fictionalized as Count Dracula). The memoir has been found in several Eastern European libraries in Czech, Polish and Serbian versions, but is original language is uncertain, as are the circumstances of its composition, presumably after Mihailović’s recapture by the Hungarians and his liberation from Ottoman service.” — Louis Werner, Saudi Aramco World