John Freely was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Ireland and New York. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at seventeen and was in the last two years of World War II, including duty with a commando unit in Burma and China. He went to college on the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. in physics from NYU, after which he did postdoctoral studies at Oxford in the history of science. Since 1960 he has taught physics and the history of science at Bosphorus University (formerly Robert College) in Istanbul, with other teaching posts in Athens, London, and Boston. He is the author of more than forty books including Istanbul: The Imperial City; The Western Shores of Turkey; Strolling Through Athens; The Lost Messiah: In Search of the Mystical Rabbi Sabbatai Sevi; and Jem Sultan: The Adventures of a Captive Turkish Prince in Renaissance Europe.