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The World: A Family History
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About the Author

Simon Sebag Montefiore is the internationally bestselling author of prize-winning books that have been published in forty-eight languages. CATHERINE THE GREAT & POTEMKIN was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards; YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Award, the LA Times Book Prize for Biography, the Kreisky Prize and the Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique; JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY won the JBC Book of the Year Prize and the Wenjin Book Prize in China; THE ROMANOVS: 1613-1918 won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Book Prize. He is the author of the Moscow Trilogy of novels: SASHENKA, RED SKY AT NOON and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER, which won the Political Fiction Book of the Year Award. He is also the author of WRITTEN IN HISTORY: LETTERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD and VOICES OF HISTORY: SPEECHES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD.

Reviews

A history of the world from the Neanderthals to Trump. It's a rollicking tale, a kaleidoscope of savagery, sex, cruelty and chaos. By focusing on family, Montefiore provides an intimacy usually lacking in global histories. [It] has personality and a soul. It's also outrageously funny . . . an enormously entertaining book
*THE TIMES*

A delightful world history, told through influential families. A moreish chronicle. The device of weaving together the past using the most enduring and essential unit of human relations is inspired . . . [it] allows the author to cover every continent and era, and to give women and even children a voice and presence that they tend to be denied in more conventional histories. Despite the book's formidable length, there is never a dull moment . . . this book is a triumph and a delight, an epic that entertains, informs and appals in enjoyably equal measure
*THE ECONOMIST*

Magnificent . . . magisterial . . . [a] real-life Game of Thrones. Dip into this book anywhere and the minutiae of history leap off the page . . . Dip too into the author's copious footnotes and there are gems to be mined. Often sassy, always entertaining . . . To my mind what it gives above all is perspective from which comes understanding and not a little wisdom
*DAILY MAIL, Book of the Week*

For any reader with the stomach for bloodshed and megalomaniac ambition, for anyone with a taste for Ptolemaic depravities or who would simply like to spend some quality time with China's imperial eunuchs, Montefiore's 'World' . . . will deliver it and more in spades. The author's major achievement is to make us see the world through a different lens - to make the unfamiliar familiar and, more important, the familiar unfamiliar. There is hardly a dull paragraph
*THE SPECTATOR*

An incredible undertaking. Montefiore finds enduring resonances and offers new perspectives . . . Because these are family stories, he adeptly eschews traditionally male histories to find greater texture and diversity. A remarkable achievement
*OBSERVER*

A history of pretty much everything everywhere from the evolution of Homo sapiens to Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Dip into any page and you'll find history rushing by in prose that combines clarity, liveliness and even deadpan humour with intriguing asides a speciality . . . a staggering achievement
*DAILY TELEGRAPH*

Succeeds in scintillating fashion . . . an epic rich in detail . . . on each page, you'll find an interesting idea, a witty observation or a footnote containing an anecdote emblematic of a wider point. Montefiore pays attention to the lives of women and children and to places slighted by Western historians. This is an extraordinary work of wisdom and vivid storytelling
*LITERARY REVIEW*

[A] rollicking, globetrotting truly global history spanning almost every continent . . . [A] thrilling tapestry. Only a highly skilled storyteller could so deftly grip attention across more than six millennia . . . packed with lavish and pullulating detail. The World is wildly entertaining . . . certainly enriching . . . [and] bracingly profane
*TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT*

This is not just an undoubted book of the year but of many years . . . a treasure trove of marvellous stories, brilliantly researched and absorbingly told, fascinating characters who leap off the pages
*DAILY MAIL, Books of the Year*

Don't be put off by the doorstopper length: this is a riveting page-turner. The author brings his cast of dynastic titans, rogues and psychopaths to life with pithy, witty pen portraits, ladling on the sex and violence. An epic that both entertains and informs
*THE ECONOMIST, Best Books of 2022*

A monumental survey of dynastic rule: how to get it, how to keep it, how to squander it . . . Montefiore energetically fulfills his promise to write a 'genuine world history, not unbalanced by excessive focus on Britain and Europe.' In zesty sentences and lively vignettes, he captures the widening global circuits of people, commerce, and culture
*NEW YORKER*

A tour de force - hugely ambitious, erudite and filled with surprises - that puts the family and families back into the heart of history
*PETER FRANKOPAN*

Terrific. Monumental . . . full of fun . . . a rollicking read. Montefiore is very good at finding the little incidental details which bring things to life
*TIMES RADIO*

Masterful and truly staggering
*BBC HISTORY REVEALED*

The World is almost narcotic to read
*JEWISH CHRONICLE*

A staggering achievement. Montefiore has given us a tremendous gift: a pulsingly readable world history through the millennia and from one end of the globe to the other
*SIMON SCHAMA*

One extraordinary story follows another, all of them extraordinarily well told. It is hard to stop turning the pages . . . One of the commonest criticisms of world histories such as Jared Diamond's Guns Germs & Steel or Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens is that they are all about the vast impersonal forces . . . Montefiore's family-centred alternative is the perfect antidote, revelling in the peculiarities and downright perversities of its all-too-human cast . . . Montefiore's vignettes are fascinating . . . There's no doubting that family is the central institution of human history and Montefiore's overview of its most recent five millennia is entertaining and consistently interesting
*FINANCIAL TIMES*

Succession meets Game of Thrones
*MAIL PLUS*

It contains a vast breadth of knowledge about the world, acquired from a lifetime of reading, and all told through the stories of some of the most influential families in history
*GEOGRAPHICAL*

Compelling, moving, epic and diverse, Montefiore's wonderful storytelling prowess and the wide research pulls off this unparalleled world history in a single narrative with unforgettable style. All the drama of humankind is here from cavemen to Putin and Zelensky
*OLIVETTE OTELE*

One word for Montefiore's book: magisterial
*BEN OKRI*

There is a certain satisfaction in holding, and reading a bulky tome. Simon Sebag Montefiore's The World: A Family History requires strong wrists, but is well worth the physical effort. It is a most readable and fascinating history of humanity from the perspective of that most enduring of institutions: the family. There is pleasure and learning on every one
*NEW STATESMAN*

In this work of astonishing scope and erudition, Montefiore interweaves the stories of the servants, courtiers and kings, pioneers, preachers and philosophers who have made history. A brilliant synthesis that will impart fresh insight to even the most learned readers
*HENRY KISSINGER*

An incredible piece of work . . . it's incredibly easy to read, written so eloquently. Delightful
*LBC*

Magnificent
*THE TIMES*

You're in for quite a ride: The World pulsates with hundreds of human stories that Montefiore brings to life in vivid convincing fashion. Combining literary flair with keen insight into human psychology, he can evoke a person with a few choice words.Among the many strengths of The World is its truly global perspective. This is an unabashedly multicultural history that refuses to privilege any particular perspective, be it geographic, cultural or ethnic
*WALL STREET JOURNAL*

Excellent . . . I was captivated from the first page . . . The most cinematic achievement is one of global connectiveness
*SUNDAY TIMES (South Africa)*

Montefiore's most ambitious work yet. It is erudite but never boring . . . There is also a great deal of humour . . . If more politicians and policymakers spent time studying history, they might avoid making the sort of lamentable mistakes that Bush and Blair made in Afghanistan and Iraq. The World would be a good place to start
*REACTION*

Do not be daunted by its length. The narrative is pacy and there is not a page wasted. The author has produced a masterclass in style and structure
*ASPECTS OF HISTORY, Books of the Year*

An epic global history that is cleverly and thrillingly told
*ASPECTS OF HISTORY, Books of the Year*

Written with lashings of elan, I raced through it . . . This special book should please any lover of history
*ASPECTS OF HISTORY, Books of the Year*

A brilliant book, and its examination of our species' experiences through the prism of the family is truly inspired
*General David Petraeus*

Highly recommended . . . Only a historian of Montefiore's calibre could pull off such an outstanding and wide-ranging work as this multi-layered and riveting study combining world history, geography and the evolution of humankind while exploring the world's greatest dynasties . . . So many interesting facts alongside captivating biographical stories. Montefiore is a master storyteller
*THE LADY*

Important and mesmerizing
*Michael Beschloss, author of PRESIDENTS OF WAR*

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