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Authors: Simon Sebag Montefiore

Titans of History

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TITANS OF HISTORY

SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE

With John Bew, Martyn Frampton,
Dan Jones and Claudia Renton

New York • London

© 2012 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of the same without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.

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Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use or anthology should send inquiries to Permissions c/o Quercus Publishing Inc., 31 West 57
th
Street, 6
th
Floor, New York, NY 10019, or to
[email protected]
.

ISBN 978-1-62365-222-7

Distributed in the United States and Canada by Random House Publisher Services
c/o Random House, 1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

www.quercus.com

Simon Sebag Montefiore was born in 1965 and read history at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University.
Catherine the Great & Potemkin
was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper and Marsh Biography Prizes.
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards.
Young Stalin
won the Costa Biography Award (UK), the
LA Times
Book Prize for Biography (US), Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) and the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). Montefiore's books are published in 40 languages. His latest book is
Jerusalem: The Biography
. He is also the author of the novel
Sashenka
. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor at Buckingham University, he lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children. He is the presenter of the BBC TV series,
Jerusalem: the Making of a Holy City
. For more information or to contact the author, see
www.simonsebagmontefiore.com
or follow him on Twitter @simonmontefiore

John Bew is Harris Fellow in Modern British History and Director of Studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge. His biography of Lord Castlereagh,
Enlightenment, War and Tyranny
, was published in 2011.

Martyn Frampton is Lecturer in Modern/Contemporary History at Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include
The Long March
(2009) and
Legion of the Rearguard
(2010)

Dan Jones is a journalist and historian. He is the author of
Summer of Blood
(2009) and
The Plantagenets
(2012).

Claudia Renton is a writer and actress who has appeared on stage with the RSC and at the Royal National Theatre, and on television for the BBC and ITV.

TO MY DARLING CHILDREN LILY AND SASHA

Contents

INTRODUCTION

RAMESES THE GREAT

DAVID & SOLOMON

NEBUCHADNEZZAR II

CYRUS THE GREAT

THE BUDDHA

CONFUCIUS

SUN TZU

LEONIDAS

HERODOTUS

ALCIBIADES

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

ALEXANDER THE GREAT

QIN SHI HUANGDI

HANNIBAL

JUDAH THE MACCABEE AND HIS BROTHERS

CICERO

CAESAR

HEROD THE GREAT

CLEOPATRA

AUGUSTUS & LIVIA

JESUS

CALIGULA

NERO

MARCUS AURELIUS

COMMODUS

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT

ATTILA THE HUN

MUHAMMAD

MUAWIYA & ABD AL-MALIK

ZHAO WU

CHARLEMAGNE

HAROUN AL-RASHID

MAROZIA AND THE PAPAL PORNOCRACY

BASIL THE BULGAR SLAYER

HASSAN AL-SABBAH AND THE ASSASSINS

GODFREY OF BOUILLON & THE CRUSADER KINGS OF JERUSALEM

ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE

SALADIN

RICHARD THE LIONHEART & JOHN SOFTSWORD

GENGHIS KHAN

FREDERICK II OF HOHENSTAUFEN

ISABELLA & ROGER MORTIMER

EDWARD III & THE BLACK PRINCE

TAMERLANE

RICHARD II

HENRY V

GILLES DE RAIS

JOAN OF ARC

TORQUEMADA

VLAD THE IMPALER

RICHARD III

SAVONAROLA

ISABELLA & FERDINAND

COLUMBUS

SELIM THE GRIM

PIZARRO

BARBAROSSA & SILVER ARM

THE BORGIAS: POPE ALEXANDER VI AND HIS CHILDREN CESARE AND LUCREZIA

MAGELLAN

BABUR

CORTÉS

HENRY VIII

SULEIMAN THE MAGNIFICENT

IVAN THE TERRIBLE

ELIZABETH I

AKBAR THE GREAT

TOKUGAWA IEYASU

GALILEO

SHAKESPEARE

ABBAS THE GREAT

WALLENSTEIN

CROMWELL

AURANGZEB

PEPYS

LOUIS XIV

NEWTON

MARLBOROUGH

PETER THE GREAT

NADER SHAH

VOLTAIRE

SAMUEL JOHNSON

FREDERICK THE GREAT

CASANOVA

CAPTAIN COOK

CATHERINE THE GREAT

POTEMKIN

WASHINGTON

JEFFERSON

TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE

TALLEYRAND

MOZART

ROBESPIERRE

NELSON

WELLINGTON

NAPOLEON I

BEETHOVEN

JANE AUSTEN

SHAKA

BYRON

BALZAC

PUSHKIN

ALEXANDRE DUMAS
PÈRE
& FILS

DISRAELI

GARIBALDI

NAPOLEON III

LINCOLN

JACK THE RIPPER

DARWIN

DICKENS

BISMARCK

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

PASTEUR

FRANCISCO LÓPEZ & ELIZA LYNCH

TOLSTOY

CIXI

LEOPOLD II

TCHAIKOVSKY

CLEMENCEAU

SARAH BERNHARDT

MAUPASSANT

OSCAR WILDE

WILHELM II

LLOYD GEORGE

TOULOUSE-LAUTREC

RASPUTIN

GANDHI

TRUJILLO

LENIN

UNGERN VON STERNBERG

PROUST

SHACKLETON, SCOTT & AMUNSDEN

CHURCHILL

IBN SAUD

VILLA & ZAPATA

STALIN

EINSTEIN

ENVER, TALAT & JEMAL: THE THREE PASHAS

ATATÜRK

PICASSO

ROOSEVELT

MUSSOLINI

TOJO

BEN-GURION

HITLER

NEHRU

BULGAKOV

FRANCO

MAO ZEDONG

ISAAC BABEL

YEZHOV

ZHUKOV

CAPONE

BERIA

HEMINGWAY

HIMMLER & HEYDRICH

KHOMEINI

ORWELL

DENG XIAOPING

DUVALIER

SCHINDLER

HOXHA OF ALBANIA

KIM IL SUNG & KIM JONG IL

ODETTE SANSOM

JFK

NASSER, SADAT, MUBARAK

THE CEAU
Ş
ESCUS OF ROMANIA

MANDELA

THE SHAH OF IRAN

JOHN PAUL II

SAKHAROV

NGUEMA

POL POT

IDI AMIN

THATCHER

ANNE FRANK

GORBACHEV & YELTSIN

ELVIS

SADDAM HUSSEIN

KADAFFI

MUHAMMAD ALI

AUNG SAN SUU KYI

ESCOBAR

OSAMA BIN LADEN

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thank you to David North, Mark Smith, Patrick Carpenter and my editor, Josh Ireland, at Quercus; to my fellow contributors Dan Jones, Claudia Renton, John Bew and Martyn Frampton, all gifted historians; my agent Georgina Capel, Anthony Cheetham, Slav Todorov, Richard Milbank, Mark Hawkins-Dady; Professor F. M. Eloischari; Robert Hardman, Jonathan Foreman. And, above all, my darling children Lily and Sasha and my wife Santa.

INTRODUCTION

When I was a child, I read a short article—like one of those contained in this book—about the sinister world of Josef Stalin. It fascinated me enough to make me read more on the subject. Many years later, I found myself working in the Russian archives to research my first book on Stalin. My aim is that these short biographies will encourage and inspire readers to find out more about these extraordinary individuals—the men and women who created the world we live in today.

But history is not just the drama of the terrible and thrilling events of times gone by: we must understand our past to understand our present and future. “Who controls the past controls the future,” wrote George Orwell, author of
1984
, and, “Who controls the present controls the past.” Karl Marx joked about Napoleon and his nephew Napoleon III that “all historical facts and and personages appear twice—the first time as a tragedy, the second time as farce.” Marx was wrong about this—as he was about much else: history does not repeat itself but it contains many warnings and lessons. Great men and women have rightly studied history to help them steer the present. For example three of the 20th century's most homicidal monsters, Hitler, Stalin and Mao—all of whom appear in this book—were history buffs who spent much of both their misspent youths and their years in power reading about their own historical heroes.

At the time that Hitler came to order the slaughter of European Jewry in the Holocaust, he was encouraged by the Ottoman massacres of the Armenians during the First World War: “Who now remembers the Armenians?” he mused. The Armenian massacres feature in this
book. When Stalin ordered the Great Terror, he looked back to the atrocities of his hero, Ivan the Terrible: “Who now remembers the nobles killed by Ivan the Terrible?” he asked his henchmen. Ivan the Terrible too is in this book. And Mao Zedong, as he unleashed waves of mass killings on China, was inspired by the First Emperor, another character who can be found in this book's pages.

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