Simon Sebag Montefiore presents The World: A Family History of Humanity

05/22 Simon Sebag Montefiore presents The World: A Family History of Humanity

Masks Encouraged☺*

If you have questions or concerns about our safety protocols, please email

Can't make it? Reserve a signed first edition here. Personalization available. Can't make it? Tune in virtually via Facebook Live.

*please note, as Covid case numbers change, these protocols may too. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Named The Times (UK) History Book of the Year! • Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Economist

Please join us in welcoming celebrated historian and author Simon Sebag Montefiore as he presents his new book The World: A Family History of HumanityMonday, May 22nd at 5:30 PM at Off Square Books.

About the Book

Around 950,000 years ago, a family of five walked along the beach and left behind the oldest family footprints ever discovered. For award-winning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, these poignant, familiar fossils serve as an inspiration for a new kind of world history, one that is genuinely global, spans all eras and all continents, and focuses on the family ties that connect every one of us.

In this epic, ever-surprising book, Montefiore chronicles the world’s great dynasties across human history through palace intrigues, love affairs, and family lives, linking grand themes of war, migration, plague, religion, and technology to the people at the heart of the human drama. It features a cast of extraordinary diversity: in addition to rulers and conquerors, there are priests, charlatans, artists, scientists, tycoons, gangsters, lovers, husbands, wives, and children. There is Hongwu, the beggar who founded the Ming dynasty; Ewuare, the Leopard-King of Benin; Henry Christophe, King of Haiti; Kamehameha, the conqueror of Hawaii; Zenobia, the Arab empress who defied Rome; Lady Murasaki, the first female novelist; Sayyida al-Hurra, the Moroccan pirate-queen. Here too are moderns such as Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Volodymyr Zelensky. Here are the Caesars, Medicis and Incas, Ottomans and Mughals, Bonapartes, Habsburgs and Zulus, Rothschilds, Rockefellers and Krupps, Churchills, Kennedys, Castros, Nehrus, Pahlavis and Kenyattas, Saudis, Kims and Assads. These powerful families represent the breadth of human endeavor, with bloody succession battles, treacherous conspiracies, and shocking megalomania alongside flourishing culture, moving romances, and enlightened benevolence. A dazzling achievement as spellbinding as fiction, The World captures the whole human story in a single, masterful narrative.

About the Author

SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE is a historian whose best-selling books have been published in forty-eight languages and won numerous awards including the Costa Biography Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His books include Catherine the Great and Potemkin; Stalin; Young Stalin; Jerusalem; The Romanovs; and the acclaimed Moscow Trilogy of novels, as well as Written in History and Voices of History. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in London.

Praise for...

“Compelling, moving, epic, and diverse, Montefiore’s wonderful storytelling prowess and wide research pulls off this unparalleled world history in a single narrative with unforgettable style. All the drama of humankind is here from cavemen to Putin and Zelensky.” —Olivette Otele, author of African Europeans

“One word for Montefiore’s book: magisterial.” —Ben Okri, Booker Prize–winning author of The Famished Road

“This history of the world, told through the stories of eminent families, is a riveting page-turner. The author brings his cast of dynastic titans, rogues and psychopaths to life with pithy, witty pen portraits, ladling on the sex and violence. An epic that both entertains and informs.” The Economist, Best Books of 2022
“A magnificent new book by Montefiore. . . . [A] magisterial tome. . . . To make sense of the chaos of world history, [Montefiore] has done magnificently and meticulously by choosing as his framework all the dynasties we know of that ever held power or make a name for themselves. . . . Dip into this book anywhere and the minutiae of history leap off the page. . . . Dip too into the author’s copious footnotes and there are gems to be mined. . . . [A] real-life Game of Thrones. . . . [A] compelling narrative, a massive effort of research. . . . Often sassy, always entertaining – of the first order. . . . To my mind, what it gives above all is perspective from which comes understanding and not a little wisdom.” The Daily Mail, Book of the Week


Staff Pick Badge
The World: A Family History of Humanity By Simon Sebag Montefiore Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525659532
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 16th, 2023

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A magisterial world history unlike any other that tells the story of humanity through the one thing we all have in common: families • From the author of The Romanovs

A Best Book of the Year: The New Yorker, Smithsonian

Event date: 
Monday, May 22, 2023 - 5:30pm
129 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655
See More Events: