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Titans of History: The Giants Who Made Our World

The history of the world told through the entertaining, horrifying and inspiring characters that everyone should know

The giant characters of history – from Mozart to Michelangelo, Shakespeare to Einstein, Henry VIII to Hitler, Catherine the Great to Margaret Thatcher, Jesus Christ to Genghis Khan ­- lived lives of astonishing drama and adventure, debauchery and slaughter, but they also formed our world and will shape our future.

In this eclectic and surprising collection of short and entertaining life stories, Simon Sebag Montefiore introduces his choice of kings, empresses, sultans and conquerors, as well as prophets, explorers, artists, actresses, courtesans and psychopaths. From the ancient times, via crusades and world wars, up to the 21st century, this accessible history introduces readers to the titans who changed the world: the characters we should all know, and the stories we should never forget.


‘Sparkling biographical essays … A tour of the good, the bad and the ugly’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

‘Entertaining and informative. Full of offbeat, fascinating detail’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

‘Comprehensive, chilling and highly compelling. A first-class chronologically arranged catalogue that enagages as it teaches’ DAILY EXPRESS

‘Compulsive reading … We do not shudder at the depths to which men and women throughout history have sunk, but experience a piquant relish … a book that reminds us how thin the veneer of civilisation is’ THE TIMES

‘A survey of great historical figures favours villainy over goodness … A compilation of short biographical profiles … catering to our appalled fascination with evil. Monsters outnumber heroes. Stalin, the subject of Montefiore’s superb two-volume biography, is the prototype for many of the maniacal autocrats whose rages and rampages are described here. A strutting parade of psychopathic dictators, warlords, malevolent dwarves … Montefiore finds room for a few gods, one or two secular saints, American founding fathers, Lincoln and Churchill, and a smattering artists and scientists, but their achievements hardly manage to maintain the pretence of civilisation. What excites Montefiore is villainy … and he does this with wicked verve’ OBSERVER

Titans of History