A collection of the greatest letters in history, charting world-shaping events and revealing the unique personalities of some of history's most famous figures
Written in History celebrates the great letters of world history, creative culture and personal life. Acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects over one hundred letters from ancient times to the twenty-first century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling; some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal, coarse and frankly outrageous; many are erotic, others heartbreaking. The writers vary from Elizabeth I, Rameses the Great and Leonard Cohen to Emmeline Pankhurst, Mandela, Stalin, Michelangelo, Suleiman the Magnificent and unknown people in extraordinary circumstances - from love letters to calls for liberation, declarations of war to reflections on death.
In the colourful, accessible style of a master storyteller, Montefiore shows why these letters are essential reading: how they enlighten our past, enrich the way we live now - and illuminate tomorrow.
About the Author
Simon Sebag Montefiore is a prizewinning historian whose bestselling books have been published in over forty-five languages. Catherine the Great and Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards; Young Stalin won the Costa Biography Award, LA Times Biography Prize and Le Grand Prix de Biographie; Jerusalem: The Biography was a number one bestseller and won the Jewish Book Council's Book of the Year prize; The Romanovs: 1613-1918 was an international bestseller and won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Book Prize. Montefiore is also the author of the acclaimed novels Sashenka, Red Sky at Noon and One Night in Winter, which won the Paddy Power Political Fiction Book of the Year Award. He read history at Cambridge University where he received his PhD, and now lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children
Spicy, horrifying, passionate, shocking...and very moving. Fascinating! If you loved Ernst Gombrich's A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD and are in the mood for another global history from a different angle, this collection of historically significant letters through the ages compiled by Simon Sebag Montefiore might well hit the spot...he has distilled a few millennia of world history into 240 extremely un-boring pages * THE TIMES *
Entertaining and enlightening . . . Some [letters] are truly revolutionary and visionary . . . Others are very personal . . . but all are fascinating, as are the compiler's comments on each letter, little gems of history in their own right * DAILY MAIL, History Books of the Year *
WRITTEN IN HISTORY is a search through the millennia, the result an astonishing array: all human life is here encapsulated, in just a few paragraphs or even just a sentence; all are surprising, and mostly unfamiliar...Everything here is a revelatory marvel, whether a hideous rant from the Marquis de Sade (1783), or the impassioned logic of religious tolerance from Babur to his son Hamayun (1529). Truly the spectrum of human belief and behaviour is revealed in this selection * THE ARTS DESK *
What sets this book apart from others about great historical correspondence is the author. The esteemed historian's selections, written in settings as far-flung as Ancient Egypt, Renaissance Italy and Stalin's Russia, go some way to illustrate how adaptable the medium of letter writing can be, and his commentary reveals just why they are still important today * HISTORY REVEALED *
Lip-smackingly sexy ... Written in History is a cornucopia of emotion. Not all the letters changed the world for everyone. But they all changed the world for someone. -- Josephine Fenton * IRISH EXAMINER *