Orion is publishing two books by historian and novelist Simon Sebag Montefiore: Written in History: Letters that Changed the World and a new edition of Speeches that Changed the World.
World rights in both titles were acquired from Georgina Capel at Georgina Capel Associates Ltd.
Written in History: Letters that Changed the World celebrates the letter in world history and personal life. In the title, 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 unsettling, some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal and coarse.
From love letters to declarations of war, ranging from Elizabeth I to Stalin, Marcus Aurelius to Machiavelli, Oscar Wilde to Balzac, Rameses the Great to Gandhi, Montefiore explores the significance of each piece of correspondence and shows how letters can reveal the personalities of some of history’s most fascinating figures, and in turn offer a unique perspective on the past and a relevance for today. "These are letters everyone should read," said the publisher.
It will be published in hardback on 4th October 2018, followed by the publication of a new edition of Speeches that Changed the World (originally published by Quercus) in October 2019, with a new foreword by Montefiore and with the inclusion of new speeches.
Montefiore said: "There was a golden age of the letter from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century when letter-writing was a vital part of daily life and all educated society recorded their thoughts, secret or public, through the medium of the letter. Of course, letters were first written much earlier – we include some of Cicero and Pliny in this book.
"Written in History will be a celebration of famous letters that readers will probably recognize and obscure but fascinating letters that may be new to them: my aim is to create an easy-to-read book of delightful and fascinating letters that readers can give as a gift, can read from cover or cover or just dip into… And it will be complemented by Speeches that Changed the World."