John Julius Norwich
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Books By John Julius Norwich
The long awaited and highly revealing diaries of the politician, diplomat, and socialite (married to Lady Diana Cooper)
'This is a fabulous, jaw-dropping read' SUNDAY TIMES
'Duff Cooper was as close to the action as anyone during the dramatic events of the mid-20th century. He was also comically priapic, committing enough sexual indiscretions to fill a dozen diaries' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
'Fascinating for two things: their testament to an exhilarating century and their witness to a vanished age of power and privilege ... What a man' OBSERVER
Duff Cooper was a first-rate witness of just about every significant event from 1914 to 1950. His diary includes some magnificent set pieces - as a young soldier at the end of WWI, as a politician during the General Strike of 1926, as King Edward VIII's friend at the time of the Abdication, and from Paris after the liberation in 1944, when he became British ambassador.
If Duff Cooper's name has dimmed in the 50 years since his death, publication of these diaries will bring him to the fore once again. His family have long resisted publication - indeed Duff Cooper's nephew, the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis, was so shocked by the sexual revelations that he suggested to John Julius Norwich that it might be best for all concerned if they were burnt. Now, superbly edited by John Julius Norwich, who familial link ensures all kinds of additional information as footnotes, these diaries join the ranks.
'Sicily is the key to everything' Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The author of the classic book on Venice turns his sights to Sicily in this beautiful book full of maps and colour photographs.
'I discovered Sicily almost by mistake . . .We drove as far as Naples, then put the car on the night ferry to Palermo. There was a degree of excitement in the early hours when we passed Stromboli, emitting a rich glow every half-minute or so like an ogre puffing on an immense cigar; and a few hours later, in the early morning sunshine, we sailed into the Conca d'Oro, the Golden Shell, in which the city lies. Apart from the beauty of the setting, I remember being instantly struck by a change in atmosphere. The Strait of Messina is only a couple of miles across and the island is politically part of Italy; yet somehow one feels that one has entered a different world . . . This book is, among other things, an attempt to analyse why this should be.'
The stepping stone between Europe and Africa, the gateway between the East and the West, at once a stronghold, clearing-house and observation post, Sicily has been invaded and fought over by Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, Goths and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, Spaniards and the French for thousands of years. It has belonged to them all - and yet has properly been part of none.
John Julius Norwich was inspired to become a writer by his first visit in 1961 and this book is the result of a fascination that has lasted over half a century. In tracing its dark story, he attempts to explain the enigma that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean's largest island.
This vivid short history covers everything from erupting volcanoes to the assassination of Byzantine emperors, from Nelson's affair with Emma Hamilton to Garibaldi and the rise of the Mafia. Taking in the key buildings and towns, and packed with fascinating stories and unforgettable characters, Sicily is the book he was born to write.
'Norwich has loved and understood Venice as well as any other Englishman has ever done' Sunday Times
'Will become the standard English work of Venetian history' Financial Times
Renowned historian, and author of A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich's classic history of Venice
A History of Venice tells the story of this most remarkable of cities from its founding in the fifth century, through its unrivalled status for over a thousand years as one of the world's busiest and most powerful city states, until its fall at the hands of Napoleon in 1797. Rich in fascinating historical detail, populated by extraordinary characters and packed with a wealth of incident and intrigue, this is a brilliant testament to a great city - and a great and gripping read.
'The standard Venetian history in English' The Times
'Norwich has the gift of historical perspective, as well as clarity and wit. Few can tell a good story better than he' Spectator
'For his final book, the late Norwich tackled the dauntingly vast subject of two millennia of French history with admirable lightness and urbanity . . . his comic footnotes deserve a review of their own' DAILY TELEGRAPH
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower . . . This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crécy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks . . .
John Julius Norwich's last book is the book he always wanted to write: the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best.
From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
John Julius Norwich expertly examines the history of the oldest continuing institution in the world, tracing the papal line down the centuries from St Peter to the present
Of the 280-odd holders of the supreme office, some have unquestionably been saints; others have wallowed in unspeakable immorality. One was said to have been a woman, her sex being revealed only when she improvidently gave birth to a baby during a papal procession. Almost as shocking was Formosus whose murdered corpse was exhumed, clothed in pontifical vestments, propped up on a throne and subjected to trial. From the glories of Byzantium to the decay of Rome, from the Albigensian Heresy to controversy within the Church today, The Popes is superbly written, witty and revealing.
‘Charming and learned...The prose is elegant, the witticisms are plentiful, and the volume's enthusiasm is addictive.’ Jonathan Wright, BBC History Magazine
An electrifying narrative history of the Mediterranean from Ancient Egypt to 1919, from the bestselling author of The Popes and Sicily: A Short History
The Mediterranean has nurtured three of the most dazzling civilisations of antiquity, witnessed the growth of three of our greatest religions and links three of the world's six continents. John Julius Norwich has visited every country around its shores; now he tells the story of the Middle Sea - a tale that begins with the Pharaohs and ends with the Treaty of Versailles - in a dramatic account of the remarkable civilisations that rose and fell on the lands of the Mediterranean.
Expertly researched and ingeniously executed, Norwich takes us through the Arab conquests of Syria and North Africa; the Holy Roman Empire and the Crusades; Ferdinand and Isabella and the Spanish Inquisition; the great sieges of Rhodes and Malta by the Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent; the pirates of the Barbary Coast and the Battle of Lepanto; Nelson and Napoleon; the Greek War of Independence and the Italian Risorgimento.
The Middle Sea is colourful, character-driven history at its most enjoyable and is the culmination of John Julius Norwich’s distinguished career as one of the greatest enthusiasts for anecdotal history.
‘An expertly paced, exhilarating read….a landmark in popular history-telling...a splendid achievement for its memorable scope and vitality... This wonderfully riveting history reveals our favourite holiday destination in all its glorious, epic depth’ Sunday Telegraph
From the origins of urbanization in Mesopotamia to the global metropolises of today, great cities have marked the development of humankind Babylon and Nineveh, Athens and Rome, Istanbul and Venice, Timbuktu and Samarkand, their very names are redolent both of history and romance. The Great Cities in History tells their story from early Uruk and Thebes to Jerusalem and Alexandria. Then the fabulous cities of the first millennium: Damascus and Baghdad in the days of the Caliphates, Teotihuacan and Maya Tikal in Central America, and Changan, capital of Tang Dynasty China.
The medieval world saw the rise of powerful cities: Palermo and Paris in Europe, Benin in Africa and Angkor of the Khmer. In the early modern world, we journey to Islamic Isfahan and Agra, and Prague and Amsterdam in their heyday, before arriving at the phenomenon of the contemporary mega-city: London and New York, Tokyo and Barcelona, Los Angeles and São Paulo.
A galaxy of more than fifty distinguished authors, including Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Simon Schama, Orlando Figes, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Misha Glenny, Adam Zamoyski and A. N. Wilson, evoke the character of each place and explain the reasons for its success, seeing what each city would have been like during its golden age.