The littoral lands of the Mediterranean Sea are Norwich's stage for surveying millennia of power politics. An experienced expositor (Paradise of Cities, 2003), Norwich is irresistibly readable in his emphasis on would-be empire builders to whom the Mediterranean offered both a tempting avenue for embarking on conquest and a dangerous seaway from which enemies would appear. Norwich purposely excludes, however, navigation and navies as well as physical geography from his narrative. He favors the dramas inherent in the succession of empires that have risen and fallen around the Mediterranean from antiquity to World War I. In particular, Norwich emphasizes the characters and motivations of rulers who have affected affairs and frames them in consistently pithy descriptions that are by turns empathic and caustic. Along with the opinion, Norwich, superbly erudite yet having a sense of popular taste, efficiently chronicles the major wars and results and occasionally argues for the importance of battles history has overlooked. A fine single-volume history suited to any collection. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“As a historian Lord Norwich knows what matters. As a writer he has a taste for beauty, a love of language and an enchanting wit.”