Henry Kissinger is perhaps the best-known American statesman of the 20th century.
If I’m at a book signing, and someone decides to take me to task, it can make for quite a sticky moment.
The first Romanov ruler was just 16 when he was crowned Tsar Michael I in Moscow in 1613, thus ending the ‘Time of Troubles’ sparked by Ivan the Terrible’s death.
Historical facts are the vital framework around which non-fiction writers construct their narratives; they are, quite simply, indispensable.
The people who read the history books tend to have a natural zeal and are alarmingly well-read.
From 1801, Napoleon began an ambitious programme of civil reform to standardise law and justice, centralise education, introduce uniform weights and measures and a fully functioning internal market. That achievement alone makes him one of the giants of history.
At school, there were more Davids than any other name: more than 20 of us cousins out of 40 pupils. When my older cousins moved on, the school had to close.
Historians turning their hands to fiction are all the rage. Since Alison Weir led the way in 2006, an ever-growing number of established non-fiction writers – Giles Milton, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Harry Sidebottom, Patrick Bishop, Ian Mortimer and myself included – have written historical novels.
Given the gruesome fate of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family, and the fact that five of the previous 12 Romanov rulers were also murdered, it is easy to regard Russia’s imperial dynasty as cursed.
Ever since World War I, superior force is no longer measured in terms of men or horses, but in the means to wreak destruction.