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Michael Wood - Author

About the Author

Michael Wood is the writer and presenter of many critically acclaimed series on television, including Art of the Western World, Legacy and In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. He is author of over sixty TV films which have been shown worldwide and of several best selling and highly praised books.


He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Oriel College Oxford where he did postgraduate research in Anglo-Saxon history. Since then he has worked as a journalist, broadcaster and film maker.


Indian civilisation has long been a special interest: Over the years Michael Wood has made a dozen visits to India and in addition to his films, Darshan and Legacy, he has written The Smile of Murugan, about a small town inTamil Nadu and its annual pilgrimage.


His academic background was in early medieval English history; among his publications are In Search of the Dark Ages and Domesday. He published a recent series of medieval essays as In Search of England.

Michael Wood lives in North London with his wife and their two daughters.

Featured books by Michael Wood

Other books by Michael Wood

The Story of China

The Story of China

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/09/2020

China's story is extraordinarily rich and dramatic. Now Michael Wood, one of the UK's pre-eminent historians, brings it all together in a major new one-volume history of China that is essential for reading for anyone who wants to understand its burgeoning role in our world today. China is the oldest living civilisation on earth, but its history is still surprisingly little known in the wider world. Michael Wood's sparkling narrative, which mingles the grand sweep with local and personal stories, woven together with the author's own travel journals, is an enthralling account of China's 4000-year-old tradition, taking in life stationed on the Great Wall or inside the Forbidden City. The story is enriched with the latest archaeological and documentary discoveries; correspondence and court cases going back to the Qin and Han dynasties; family letters from soldiers in the real-life Terracotta Army; stories from Silk Road merchants and Buddhist travellers, along with memoirs and diaries of emperors, poets and peasants. In the modern era, the book is full of new insights, with the electrifying manifestos of the feminist revolutionaries Qiu Jin and He Zhen, extraordinary eye-witness accounts of the Japanese invasion, the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao, and fascinating newly published sources for the great turning points in China's modern history, including the Tiananmen Square crisis of 1989, and the new order of President Xi Jinping. A compelling portrait of a single civilisation over an immense period of time, the book is full of intimate detail and colourful voices, taking us from the desolate Mongolian steppes to the ultra-modern world of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It also asks what were the forces that have kept China together for so long? Why was China overtaken by the west after the 18th century? What lies behind China's extraordinary rise today? The Story of China tells a thrilling story of intense drama, fabulous creativity and deep humanity; a portrait of a country that will be of the greatest importance to the world in the twenty-first century.

The Story of China

The Story of China

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/09/2020

China's story is extraordinarily rich and dramatic. Now Michael Wood, one of the UK's pre-eminent historians, brings it all together in a major new one-volume history of China that is essential for reading for anyone who wants to understand its burgeoning role in our world today. China is the oldest living civilisation on earth, but its history is still surprisingly little known in the wider world. Michael Wood's sparkling narrative, which mingles the grand sweep with local and personal stories, woven together with the author's own travel journals, is an enthralling account of China's 4000-year-old tradition, taking in life stationed on the Great Wall or inside the Forbidden City. The story is enriched with the latest archaeological and documentary discoveries; correspondence and court cases going back to the Qin and Han dynasties; family letters from soldiers in the real-life Terracotta Army; stories from Silk Road merchants and Buddhist travellers, along with memoirs and diaries of emperors, poets and peasants. In the modern era, the book is full of new insights, with the electrifying manifestos of the feminist revolutionaries Qiu Jin and He Zhen, extraordinary eye-witness accounts of the Japanese invasion, the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao, and fascinating newly published sources for the great turning points in China's modern history, including the Tiananmen Square crisis of 1989, and the new order of President Xi Jinping. A compelling portrait of a single civilisation over an immense period of time, the book is full of intimate detail and colourful voices, taking us from the desolate Mongolian steppes to the ultra-modern world of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It also asks what were the forces that have kept China together for so long? Why was China overtaken by the west after the 18th century? What lies behind China's extraordinary rise today? The Story of China tells a thrilling story of intense drama, fabulous creativity and deep humanity; a portrait of a country that will be of the greatest importance to the world in the twenty-first century.

The Murder House

The Murder House

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/03/2020

'Gory, brutal, devastating, utterly addictive and yet so finely written. This deserves to be huge - and I think it will be. His best yet' Louise Beech They were the perfect family. It was the perfect crime. The new gripping DCI Matilda Darke crime thriller about the dark secrets that lie within a perfect family. For fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons. It's the most disturbing crime scene DCI Matilda Darke has ever seen... The morning after a wedding reception at a beautiful suburban home in Sheffield, the bride's entire family are stabbed to death - in a frenzied attack more violent than anything DCI Matilda Darke could have imagined. Forensics point to a burglar on the run across the country. But cracks are starting to appear in Matilda's team, someone is playing games with the evidence - and the killer might be closer to home than they thought... Praise for The Murder House: 'Matilda Darke is Sheffield's answer to Northumberland's Vera and Wood's stories are up there with the best. Fast-paced, crisp writing and a thoroughly enjoyable read' David Young, bestselling author of Stasi Child

Anglo-German Dramatic and Poetic Encounters

Anglo-German Dramatic and Poetic Encounters

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/06/2019

Focusing on particular cases of Anglo-German exchange in the period known as the Sattelzeit (1750-1850), this volume of essays explores how drama and poetry played a central role in the development of British and German literary cultures. With increased numbers of people studying foreign languages, engaging in translation work, and traveling between Britain and Germany, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gave rise to unprecedented opportunities for intercultural encounters and transnational dialogues. While most research on Anglo-German exchange has focused on the novel, this volume seeks to reposition drama and poetry within discourses of national identity, intercultural transfer, and World Literature. The essays in the collection cohere in affirming the significance of poetry and drama as literary forms that shaped German and British cultures in the period. The essays also consider the nuanced movement of texts and ideas across genres and cultures, the formation and reception of poetic personae, and the place of illustration in cross-cultural, textual exchange.

Edinburgh German Yearbook 12 - Repopulating the Eighteenth Century: Second-Tier Writing in the German Enlightenment

Edinburgh German Yearbook 12 - Repopulating the Eighteenth Century: Second-Tier Writing in the German Enlightenment

Author: Michael Wood, Johannes Birgfeld Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/11/2018

German literature and thought flourished in the eighteenth century, when a culture considered a European backwater came to assert worldwide significance. This was an age in which repeated attempts to reform German literary and philosophical culture were made - often only to be overtaken within a few decades. It ushered in generations of exceptionally gifted poets and thinkers including Klopstock, Lessing, Goethe, Kant, and Schiller, whose names still dominate our understanding of the German Enlightenment. Yet the period also brought with it new means of accessing and disseminating culture and a rapid increase in cultural production. The leading lights of eighteenth-century German culture operated against the backdrop of a yet more diverse and vivid cast of literary and philosophical figures since consigned to the second tier of German culture. Through essays that examine particular non-canonical works and writers in their wider cultural context, this collection repopulates the German Enlightenment with these largely forgotten movements, writers, and literary circles. It offers new insights into the development of genres such as the novel, the fable, and the historical drama, and assesses the dynamics that led to individual authors, circles, and schools of thought being left behind in their time and passed over or inadequately understood to this day. Contributors: Johannes Birgfeld, Stephanie Blum, Julia Bohnengel, Kristin Eichhorn, Sarah Vandegrift Eldridge, Jonathan Blake Fine, J. C. Lees, Leonard von Morze, Ellen Pilsworth, Joanna Raisbeck, Ritchie Robertson, Michael Wood. Michael Wood is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in German at the University of Edinburgh. Johannes Birgfeld teaches Modern German Literature at the University of the Saarland.

The Hangman's Hold

The Hangman's Hold

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/09/2018

Your life is in his hands. In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields. There's a killer in your house. The Hangman waits in the darkness. He knows your darkest secrets. He'll make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget. And he is closer than you think. DCI Matilda Darke is running out of time. Fear is spreading throughout the city. As the body count rises, Matilda is targeted and her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

Habits of Distraction

Habits of Distraction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2018

Habits of Distraction

Habits of Distraction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/07/2018

Tbc30

Tbc30

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/06/2018

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/03/2018

Are You a Christian?

Are You a Christian?

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/09/2017

Heiner Muller`s Democratic Theater - The Politics of Making the Audience Work

Heiner Muller`s Democratic Theater - The Politics of Making the Audience Work

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/06/2017

The East German playwright Heiner Muller (1929-1995) is one of the most influential European dramatists and theater directors since Brecht. While critical literature on Muller often discusses the politics of his works, analysis tends to stop at the level of the text, neglecting the theatrical events that emerge from it and the audiences for which it was written and performed. Situating his study within Muller's interests in democracy and audience activity, Michael Wood addresses these gaps in scholarship, making an original contribution to the understanding of Muller's work as playwright and director. In 1985, Muller spoke of the importance of a democratic theater: one that confronts theatergoers with densely contradictory material that they must interpret for themselves, reflecting the complexity of material reality and encouraging them to question their participation in political life. Wood's study shows that Muller sought to do this in his combined 1988 production of Der Lohndrucker, Der Horatier, and Wolokolamsker Chaussee IV: Kentauren, staged at a time when questions of democracy were at the forefront of East German consciousness. It also demonstrates that from the beginning of his career Muller tried to make theater that would create a form of democracy both within and outside the theater. Michael Wood is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where he received his PhD in 2014.

On Empson

On Empson

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/04/2017

From one of today's most distinguished critics, a beautifully written exploration of one of the twentieth century's most important literary critics Are literary critics writers? As Michael Wood says, Not all critics are writers--perhaps most of them are not--and some of them are better when they don't try to be. The British critic and poet William Empson (1906-84), one of the most important and influential critics of the twentieth century, was an exception--a critic who was not only a writer but also a great one. In this brief book, Wood, himself one of the most gifted writers among contemporary critics, explores Empson as a writer, a distinguished poet whose criticism is a brilliant literary performance--and proof that the act of reading can be an unforgettable adventure. Drawing out the singularity and strength of Empson's writing, including its unfailing wit, Wood traces the connections between Empson's poetry and criticism from his first and best-known critical works, Seven Types of Ambiguity and Some Versions of Pastoral, to later books such as Milton's God and The Structure of Complex Words. Wood shows why this pioneer of close reading was both more and less than the inventor of New Criticism--more because he was the greatest English critic since Coleridge, and didn't belong to any school; and less because he had severe differences with many contemporary critics, especially those who dismissed the importance of an author's intentions. Beautifully written and rich with insight, On Empson is an elegant introduction to a unique writer for whom literature was a nonstop form of living.

Room Full of Killers: A gripping crime thriller with twists you won't see coming (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 3)

Room Full of Killers: A gripping crime thriller with twists you won't see coming (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 3)

Author: Michael Wood Format: eBook Release Date: 17/02/2017

'DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly GriffithsThe third book in Michael Wood's darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder...Starling House is home to some of Britain's deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison.When the latest arrival is found brutally murdered, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, and discover a prison manager falling apart and a sabotaged security system. Neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.The only person Matilda believes is innocent is facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate, and find a murderer in a house full of killers...

Fallen: A DCI Matilda Darke short story

Fallen: A DCI Matilda Darke short story

Author: Michael Wood Format: eBook Release Date: 23/12/2016

'DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly GriffithsA short story and prequel featuring DCI Matilda Darke, star of Michael Wood's darkly compelling crime series. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.It's Christmas in Sheffield. But not everyone is enjoying the festive season...A man has been found brutally murdered in his own home. The victim is Iain Kilbride, a once-famous TV star who has faded into obscurity. All signs point to a break-in, but why has nothing been taken?For DCI Matilda Darke, this is the perfect chance to prove her newly formed Murder Investigation Team are up to the task. Matilda suspects the clue to finding the killer lies in Iain's past, but she's about to discover how dark that past really is...

From Creation to the Gospel

From Creation to the Gospel

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/10/2016

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