Written in History

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What to expect

History cannot be relived, but thanks to a tradition that spans millennia, we can revisit it in the letters of the people who influenced or witnessed the moments it changed for ever. In WRITTEN IN HISTORY, acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects some of the greatest letters ever written from ancient times to the twentieth century: declarations of war, petitions for peace, diplomatic entanglements, steamy love letters and beyond. In each case, he explores the significance of each piece of correspondence and shows how letters can open a unique window to the past and the personalities of some of the greatest – and most notorious – figures in history.

(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Critics Review

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.


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