John Julius Norwich was born in 1929. After National Service, he took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service, serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. His publications include The Normans in Sicily; Mount Athos (with Reresby Sitwell); Sahara; The Architecture of Southern England; Glyndebourne; and A History of Venice. He is also the author of a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He has written and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television, and is a regular lecturer on Venice and numerous other subjects.Lord Norwich is former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund and a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a Commendatore of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He was made a CVO in 1993.
The most amiable and freewheeling of guides, Norwich will always find room for the amusing anecdote . . . Written Sicilian history dates back 2,500 years, so compressing it into one book means a swift and exhilarating gallop . . . Norwich renders it entertaining on every page - Sunday TimesNorwich tells the long, sad but fascinating story with sympathy and brio - Literary ReviewNorwich is an authoritative historian, but his writing is charmingly personal . . . Sicily's political history is full of some much turbulence it's sometimes hard to keep track of the battles, murders and successions, but Norwich sketches personalities vividly . . . Norwich calls this book his 'valediction' to Sicily: he does the island and the reader a generous service in providing such an amiable introduction - Sunday TelegraphJohn Julius Norwich, as he explains, began his writing career with a focus on Sicily during its Norman era, and now he has returned to produce this riotous, thoughtful journey through the island's rich and varied history . . . Norwich has produced an entertaining narrative - BBC History MagazineNorwich is a perfectly informed guide - Week