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Written in History: Letters that Changed the World

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  12 reviews
WRITTEN IN HISTORY: LETTERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD celebrates the letter in world history and personal life. Acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore selects letters that have changed the course of global events or touched a timeless emotion - whether passion, rage, humour - from ancient times to the twentieth century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and un ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by W&N (first published 2018)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  12 reviews


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Lucynell
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-highlights
Book 5

Written in History: Letters That Changed the World
Simon Sebag Montefiore
2018

5/5


The title is kind of misleading, few of these letters changed the world, even if we are to assume the world is something fixed on a steady course and deviations are so abnormal we call them changes. Reverend John Stevens Henslow urging Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle certainly had an impact, as did Donald Trump counter-threatening Kim Jong Um with nuclear warfare. No matter. This is an unmissable collection
...more
Jamie Bowen
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Letters may be a dying art now but this book captures the power of the written word through some amazing letters from across history. This book has letters from Gandhi, Hitler, Mozart, Churchill and many more.
storytime-reviews
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
*3.5

This book is an eclectic collection of letters that reveal just as much about the people who wrote them as they do about world history. Written in History: Letters That Changed the World includes letters about love, war, disasters, family, goodbyes, creative endeavours and everything in between. Simon Sebag Montefiore includes letters from ancient times to the 20th century from the likes of Pliny the Younger writing about the destruction of Pompeii, to letters from Stalin, Rasputin, Elizabet
...more
Richard Smith
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a magnificent book. The letters come from every part of history, and all are strong and many extraordinary.

The book makes a perfect gift, and I've already given t to two friends.

I extracted several letters as blogs:

https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...

https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...

https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...


https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...

https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...

https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/...
Nikolaos
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short and magnificent anthology of correspondence that either described, explained, or changed the state of the authors' world. Well-known politicians, artists, militarists, as well as unknown victims of history draw the portrait of their time with the most defining and ageless colours, with the characteristic honesty and directness one would expect in private communication.

My personal favourite is the farewell letter by a woman to her husband, written while she was waiting for her execution a
...more
Amina
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
Title misleading. The letters, though written by men and women who left a mark on the course of history, hadn’t always played that role. However that doesn’t make them less interesting or appealing, some were even very shocking and brought a new insight on some very known figures.
The way the letters were organized in distinct themes could have been better as some letters belonged to different themes and some writers were mentioned many times.
All considered this was a fun read.
Sandrine
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Brillant idea : letters written by famous people introduced by a gifted historian.
I thought the introductory texts were very good, both informative and sharp. Many of the letters make you smile and move you. I also felt privileges to get intimate with some of the big names of history.
The one challenge though is that the excitement fades: no logic in the way the letters are ordered, jumping from centuries, geography. A shame
James Dempster
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The letters were chosen carefully and gives a great insight into the minds of the writers. The only thing that prevented this being a five star review was the volume of letters of Russian origin, as this is a part of history I’m less interested in.
Anna Belsham
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eclectic collection of letters arranged by theme rather than by date. Sheds light on the personal/private side of public figures as diverse as Alexander Hamilton, Frida Kahlo and Pliny the Younger.
Fiona
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and enlightening!
Christina
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Enjoyed it very much.
Judith Rich
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting selection of letters from people throughout history, some very famous, some less so.

My favourite is the one Tito wrote to Stalin, telling him to stop trying to assassinate him "or I'll send an assassin to Moscow - and I won't need to send a second."
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Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the global bestsellers 'The Romanovs' and 'Jerusalem: the Biography,' 'Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar' and Young Stalin and the novels Sashenka and One Night in Winter and "Red Sky at Noon." His books are published in 48 languages and are worldwide bestsellers. He has won prizes in both non-fiction and fiction. He read history at Gonville and Caius Colleg ...more