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  • Published: 5 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780141984469
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 528
Categories:

In the Shadow of the Gods

The Emperor in World History




A dazzling history of the world's emperors, spanning the last thousand years

For millennia much of the world was ruled by emperors: a handful of individuals claimed no limit to the lands they could rule over and no limit to their authority. They operated beyond normal human constraint and indeed often declared a superhuman or divine authority.

Dominic Lieven's marvellous new book, In the Shadow of the Gods, is the first to grapple seriously with this extraordinary phenomenon. Across the world peoples, willingly or unwillingly, fell into orbit around figures who reshaped or destroyed entire societies, imposed religions and invaded rivals. Lieven compares the great emperors of antiquity, the caliphs and the warrior-emperors of the steppe before he turns to the Habsburg, Russian, Ottoman, Mughal and Chinese emperors, packing the book with extraordinary stories, astute observations and a sense of both delight and horror at these individuals' antics. The entire breadth of extreme human behaviour is here - from warlords to patrons of the arts, from political genius to feeble incapacity and pathological violence.

As one of the great experts both on empires and on Russian history, Lieven is brilliantly qualified to write a book that brings to life a system of rule that dominated most of human history, as well as some of history's grandest and most dismaying figures.

  • Published: 5 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780141984469
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 528
Categories:

About the author

Dominic Lieven

Dominic Lieven is an Honorary Fellow and an Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His Russia Against Napoleon won the Wolfson Prize (UK) and the Prix Napoléon (France). His latest book, Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia won the Pushkin House Prize (UK), the Valdai Club Prize (Russia) and the Ambassador of the New Europe Prize (Poland).

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Praise for In the Shadow of the Gods

A new work by Dominic Lieven is always a treat... It's not only superb and masterly in its analysis but strikingly relevant on power and empire now.

Simon Sebag Montefiore

A new work by Dominic Lieven is always a treat... It's not only superb and masterly in its analysis but strikingly relevant on power and empire now.

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Unique, captivating and dazzling global history ... Despite its astonishing range and the complexity of its subject, In the Shadow of the Gods is full of enticing human detail ... a sparkling history infused with entertaining reflections.

H Kumarasingham, Literary Review

Unique, captivating and dazzling global history ... Despite its astonishing range and the complexity of its subject, In the Shadow of the Gods is full of enticing human detail ... a sparkling history infused with entertaining reflections.

H Kumarasingham, Literary Review

An erudite, globe-spanning study ... Lieven's sharp wit and vast knowledge impress. This eloquent and entertaining chronicle casts world history in a new light.

Publishers Weekly

An erudite, globe-spanning study ... Lieven's sharp wit and vast knowledge impress. This eloquent and entertaining chronicle casts world history in a new light.

Publishers Weekly

Sweeping ... A consistently engaging comparison-contrast look at the mechanics of empire.

Kirkus

Sweeping ... A consistently engaging comparison-contrast look at the mechanics of empire.

Kirkus

Dominic Lieven brings to his latest work a striking, informed empathy for the dilemmas of mighty sovereigns ... Mr Lieven offers especially vivid portraits of some great empresses ... The era of crowned despots who personify the divine may well be over, but the age of self-conscious imperial calculus is not.

The Economist

Dominic Lieven brings to his latest work a striking, informed empathy for the dilemmas of mighty sovereigns ... Mr Lieven offers especially vivid portraits of some great empresses ... The era of crowned despots who personify the divine may well be over, but the age of self-conscious imperial calculus is not.

The Economist

An impressive feat of synthesis, written with the author's customary flair and eye for detail ... with its engaging style, its undogmatic tone and the wealth of coverage, it will undoubtedly attract many readers. ... stimulating, informative and enjoyable.

Krishan Kumar, Times Literary Supplement

An impressive feat of synthesis, written with the author's customary flair and eye for detail ... with its engaging style, its undogmatic tone and the wealth of coverage, it will undoubtedly attract many readers. ... stimulating, informative and enjoyable.

Krishan Kumar, Times Literary Supplement

Dynamic, original and convincing ... exceptionally stimulating.

Philip Mansel, The Spectator

Dynamic, original and convincing ... exceptionally stimulating.

Philip Mansel, The Spectator

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