Historian Simon Schama has signed a book deal for Return of the Tribes, which will go beyond the headlines to unearth the “deep, ancient roots of nationalism's perennial and problematic appeal”.
Following the UK’s decision to Brexit and Donald Trump’s appointment as president of the United States, Schama’s book will chart the centuries-long clash between the propagation of high minded universal ideals and the “visceral force of local tribal emotions”, bringing the story of that conflict up to date in the age of Trump, Brexit and the cyber-tribes.
Iain MacGregor, publishing director of non-fiction at Simon & Schuster, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) in Return of the Tribes from Caroline Michel at PFD. North American rights have been acquired by Eamon Dolan, on behalf of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Alexandra Cliff at PFD.
MacGregor said: “Simon is an integral and powerful voice in the arena of ideas and public discourse. His reputation for offering a moral compass to the reader when attempting to understand complex historical issues that have shaped their world is unparalleled. We are thrilled to be publishing this work at such a crucial moment in human history.”
Schama added that while Return of the Tribes is a response to the “great war of sensibility shaping the history of our time”, it is also the outcome of half a century of thinking and writing on the mysteries of national allegiance. “I'm absolutely delighted to be working with Simon & Schuster and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to bring this book before the widest possible public on both sides of the Atlantic,” he added.
Dolan said: “Nationalism and tribalism have long been hallmarks – and scourges – of human society, but it’s especially important to examine them now as they escalate around the world. I can’t imagine a better writer or thinker than Simon to take on this urgent task, and I’m excited by the passion as well as the erudition he brings to it.”
Schama has also penned A History of Britain (BBC Books), The Story of the Jews (Vintage) and The Face of Britain (Viking).
Schama is an English historian specialising in art history, Dutch history, and French history. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York. He has presented several documentaries for the BBC, including "Landscape and Memory" in 1995 and "A History of Britain" in 2000.