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Past Events

Past EventsMonday, February 8

Simon Sebag Montefiore: The Romanovs: Rise and Fall, 1613 – 1918

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Kate Williams

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?
This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore's gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin.
In conversation with historian and broadcaster, Professor Kate Williams, Simon Sebag Montefiore draws on new archival research to tell a story of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power and how the scene was set for Russia to become the country we know today.
Simon Sebag Montefiore is a prize-winning historian whose bestselling books have been published in over 40 languages. He read history at Cambridge University where he received his PhD, and now lives in London. His award-winning books include Young Stalin, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar and Jerusalem: The Biography. He also writes novels, including his recent One Night in Winter.
Kate Williams is Professor of History at Reading University and appears often on TV and radio. She and Simon Sebag Montefiore were recently a BBC Four Quizeum team at the Jewish Museum London. Kate Williams’ new novel, The Edge of the Fall, a sequel to The Storms of War, continues the story of the de Witt family as they struggle with the aftermath of the Great War and enter the roaring 1920s. Her most recent historical book is a biography of Empress Josephine.

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Jonathan Safran Foer discusses his novel Here I Am with Hephzibah Anderson at an out-of-festival event.