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Written in History: Letters That Changed the World

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Juliet Stevenson, Rupert Penry-Jones, Simon Russell Beale, Tuppence Middleton

7 Hours 30 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

October 2019

Audio Book Summary

Outstanding selection of great letters from ancient times to the 21st century, touching on power, love, art, sex, faith, and war.

Written in History: Letters that Changed the World celebrates the great letters of world history, and cultural and personal life. Bestselling, prizewinning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects letters that have changed the course of global events or touched a timeless emotion—whether passion, rage, humor—from ancient times to the twenty-first century. Some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling, some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal, coarse, and frankly outrageous, many are erotic, others heartbreaking. It is a surprising and eclectic selection, from the four corners of the world, filled with extraordinary women and men, from ancient times to now.

Truly a choice of letters for our own times encompassing love letters to calls for liberation to declarations of war to reflections on life and death. The writers vary from Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great to Mandela, Stalin and Picasso, Fanny Burney and Emily Pankhurst to Ada Lovelace and Rosa Parks, Oscar Wilde, Chekhov and Pushkin to Balzac, Mozart and Michelangelo, Hitler, Rameses the Great and Alexander Hamilton to Augustus and Churchill, Lincoln, Donald Trump and Suleiman the Magnificent.

In a book that is a perfect gift, here is a window on astonishing characters, seminal events, and unforgettable words. In the colorful, accessible style of a master storyteller, Montefiore shows why these letters are essential reading and how they can unveil and enlighten the past—and enrich the way we live now.

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