In this inspiring, horrifying, and accessible collection of short, entertaining, and vivid life stories, Simon Sebag Montefiore—one of our pre-eminent historians and a prizewinning writer—presents the giant characters who have changed the course of world history.
These titans of history—encompassing queens, empresses, and actresses, kings, sultans, and conquerors, as well as prophets, artists, courtesans, psychopaths, and explorers—lived lives of astonishing drama, courage and adventure, debauchery and slaughter, virtue and crime. The subjects range widely throughout time and geography from Buddha and Genghis Khan to Nero and Churchill; from Catherine the Great and Anne Frank to Toussaint l’Ouverture and Martin Luther King; from Mozart to Mao; from Jesus Christ and Shakespeare to Einstein and Elvis. Through these lives, Montefiore recounts the most momentous world events—from ancient times to the Crusades, the Holocaust, and the Gulf Wars.
These are the historical figures that everyone should know and the stories we should never forget.