A World on Fire

A World on Fire : An Epic History of Two Nations Divided

By (author) Amanda Foreman

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In "A World on Fire" Amanda Foreman brings her unique style of epic biography to the American Civil War. During the titanic struggle between North and South, both sides demanded Britain's support. British volunteers fought on both sides; British guns and bullets littered the battlefields. The South depended on British-built cruisers to make up its navy, and British blockade runners to supply its armies. This book portrays the extraordinary web of relationships between the two countries through the lives of over a hundred participants - soldiers, mercenaries, politicians, spies, journalists, diplomats, doctors and nurses who, at home or abroad, recorded their experience of the war. It traces the often desperate efforts of men and women to survive, to preserve the ideals and ways of living they believed were right, and even, sometimes, to find love in the worst of circumstances. "A World On Fire" is history told in the round, combining the human intensity of battle with the manoeuvrings of fraught diplomacy. We see the letters of soldiers fighting thousands of miles from their homeland; the passionate dispatches from diplomats and journalists; and the diaries of the brave women who laboured in some cases to save a single life, and in others to protect an entire way of life. This is a new and dramatic account of the first modern war and of Britain's part in it, for good or ill.

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  • Hardback | 1040 pages
  • 170.18 x 241.3 x 63.5mm | 1,655.6g
  • 04 Nov 2010
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • ALLEN LANE
  • London
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps, ports.
  • 1846142040
  • 9781846142048
  • 233,780

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Author Information

Amanda Foreman is the author of the international bestseller Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1999) which has been translated into thirteen languages and won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. The book inspired a documentary, a radio play starring Dame Judi Dench, and a film, The Duchess, released in 2008, starring Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes. She is currently a research fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. She is married with five children.

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Review quote

Amanda Foreman's magnificent book provides a completely fresh perspective on the first great modern conflict. Weaving together a vast panoply of people and events, it dramatically brings alive this extraordinary period on British and American history. -- Antony Beevor It rolls along with the ragged grandeur of one of Ulysses S. Grant's infantry battalions. If you've an appetite for serious history, you'll be in hog-heaven. -- Sam Leith Spectator 'A World on Fire is an achievement as enjoyable as it is impressive. As in a great nineteenth-century novel, a teeming cast propels this epic - the gallant and the craven, scoundrels and lovers, diplomats and freebooters - some helplessly caught in the gale, others with their hands firmly on the levers of power. Charles Dickens appears in this book; had he been an historian he might well have written it.' -- Richard Snow, Editor American Heritage, 1990-2007 A World on Fire is a staggering achievement. -- Christopher Silvester Daily Express Here is an iridescent book; vivid like a rainbow but rather more substantial...The book is like Gone With The Wind but with the true history inserted, and even more importantly, it is a biography of two people at an epic moment in their shared history. Anger, resentment, sympathy, loyalty, all the emotions that characterise Anglo-American relations today, can be traced back to this period. -- Antonia Fraser Mail on Sunday

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