Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Amanda Foreman's New Book, Different Century but Perhaps Just as Interesting

More than ten years after her breakthrough biography, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, Amanda Foreman is celebrating the release of her new book this week.

Ever since Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire hit shelves in 1998, Foreman has received rightfully deserved acclaim and has lent her pen to numerous forewords and historical research.  The year 2008 saw her research become transformed into a movie, The Duchess which sent the historian on whirlwind trip of red carpets and press tours.  Somehow, between all these demanding projects Foreman managed to write her meticulously researched new book, A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided which tells the story of Britain's role in the American Civil War from politics to individual Englishmen fighting on either side.

Fans of the colorful Duchess' biography may be confused by the subject matter which is so different from Foreman's first book.  But the answer, I believe, lies in Foreman's background.  When she originally enrolled in Oxford for her PhD, her original dissertation idea, before she became smitten with Georgiana's story, had to do with the abolition of slavery.  Foreman herself has both English and American roots; being born in London, raised in the US and then receiving schooling in both England and the US.  Knowing this, it only seems natural that Foreman would take on this little-known, yet interesting topic.

A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided is out now in the UK and won't make it to the States until next summer.  Tonight is the launch party for the book which is appropriately being held at Winfield House, the residence of the US Ambassador to the Court of St James.  Wouldn't you just love to crash that party?

Guardian: A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided by Amanda Foreman: review
Independant: Amanda Foreman: The queen of historical biography
Telegraph: A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided by Amanda Foreman: review


  1. I didn't know this was coming out. I'll have to check it out. Thank you!

  2. It sounds interesting, even if out of my subject realm!

  3. Its an interesting and little known topic. It's hard to believe that there's anything that we don't know about the Civil War. I'm looking forward to it. I've never actually managed to find Winfield House, no matter how many times I've tried while walking through Regent's Park.

  4. wow! very interesting, this seems like a very epic subject matter. It will be interesting to see how she handles such a broad topic, since the previous book was so intimate to Georgiana.