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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.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 25 November 2010. In A World on Fire Amanda Foreman brings her unique style of epic biography to the American Civil War. This is a new and dramatic account of the first modern war and of Britain's part in it, for good or ill.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK*;NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, one of England's richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana's public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug-taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day. With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.Praise for The Duchess';Georgiana bursts from the pages of Amanda Foreman's dazzling biography like the force of nature she undoubtedly waspassionate, political, addicted to gambling, and drunk on life. This is a stunning book about an astonishing woman.'Simon Schama';Biography at its best . . . seamlessly merges a life and its times, capturing not just an individual but an age.'The New York Times Book Review';Riveting . . . marvelously diverting.'The New Yorker
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER10 BEST BOOKS *; THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW *;2011 NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post *; The New Yorker *; Chicago Tribune *; The Economist *; Nancy Pearl, NPR *; Bloomberg.com *; Library Journal *; Publishers WeeklyAcclaimed historian Amanda Foreman follows the phenomenal success of her New York Times bestseller Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire with her long-awaited second work of nonfiction: the fascinating story of the American Civil War and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle.Even before the first rumblings of secession shook the halls of Congress, British involvement in the coming schism was inevitable. Britain was dependent on the South for cotton, and in turn the Confederacy relied almost exclusively on Britain for guns, bullets, and ships. The Union sought to block any diplomacy between the two and consistently teetered on the brink of war with Britain. For four years the complex web of relationships between the countries led to defeats and victories both minute and history-making. In A World on Fire, Amanda Foreman examines the fraught relations from multiple angles while she introduces characters both humble and grand, bringing them to vivid life over the course of her sweeping and brilliant narrative.Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first cannon blasts on Fort Sumter to Lee's surrender at Appomattox, they served as officers and infantrymen, sailors and nurses, blockade runners and spies. Through personal letters, diaries, and journals, Foreman has woven together their experiences to form a panoramic yet intimate view of the war on the front lines, in the prison camps, and in the great cities of both the Union and the Confederacy. Through the eyes of these brave volunteers we see the details of the struggle for life and the great and powerful forces that threatened to demolish a nation.In the drawing rooms of London and the offices of Washington, on muddy fields and aboard packed ships, Foreman reveals the decisions made, the beliefs held and contested, and the personal triumphs and sacrifices that ultimately led to the reunification of America. A World on Fire is a complex and groundbreaking work that will surely cement Amanda Foreman's position as one of the most influential historians of our time.Includes a bonus PDF with a Dramatis Personae and a glossary
'No two nations have ever existed on the face of the earth which could do each other so much good or so much harm' President Buchanan, State of the Nation Address, 1859 A World on Fire tells, with extraordinary sweep, one of the least known great stories of British and American history. As America descended into Civil War, British loyalties were torn between support for the North, which was against slavery, and defending the South, which portrayed itself as bravely fighting for its independence. Rallying to their respective causes, thousands of Britons went to America as soldiers - fighting for both Union and Confederacy - racing ships through the Northern blockades, and as observers, nurses, adventurers, guerillas and spies. At the heart of this international conflict lay a complicated and at times tortuous relationship between four individuals: Lord Lyons, the painfully shy British Ambassador in Washington; William Seward, the blustering US Secretary of State; Charles Francis Adams, the dry but fiercely patriotic U.S. ambassador in London; and the restless and abrasive Foreign Secretary Lord John Russell. Despite their efforts, and sometimes as a result of them, America and Britain came within a whisker of declaring war on each other twice in four years. The diplomatic story is only one element in this gloriously multifaceted book. Using a wealth of previously unpublished letters and journals, Amanda Foreman gives fresh accounts of Civil War battles by seeing them through the eyes of British journalists and myriad soldiers on both sides, from flamboyant cavalry commanders to forcibly conscripted private soldiers. She also shows how the War took place in England, from the Confederacy's secret ship-building programme in Liverpool to the desperate efforts of its propagandists and emissaries - male and female - to influence British public opinion. She even shows how one of the most famous set-piece naval encounters of the War was fought, remarkably, in the English Channel. Foreman tells this epic yet intimate story of enormous personalities, tense diplomacy and torn loyalties as history in the round, captivating her readers with the experience of total immersion in this titanic conflict.
A tale of decadence and excess, great houses and wild parties, love and sexual intrigue, this biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, casts an astonishing new light on the nobility of eighteenth-century England. Fashionable, extravagant and universally adored, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, was one of the most influential women of her day. But her flamboyant public persona hid a multitude of personal troubles: drug addiction, vast gambling debts, an unhappy menage a trois with her husband and best friend, and a doomed affair with the future prime minister. Like her descendant, Diana, Princess of Wales, Georgiana was a vulnerable woman living the life of an icon. This utterly absorbing biography, recently made into a major film starring Keira Knightley as the Duchess of Devonshire, paints a touching portrait of a misunderstood woman.
Sex, intrigue and adultery in the world of high politics and huge wealth in late eighteenth-century England. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was one of the most flamboyant and influential women of the eighteenth century. The great-great-great-great aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, she was variously a compulsive gambler, a political savante and operator of the highest order, a drug addict, an adulteress and the darling of the common people. This authoritative, utterly absorbing book presents a mesmerizing picture of a fascinating world of political and sexual intrigues, grand houses, huge parties, glamour and great wealth - always on the edge of being squandered by the excesses and scandals of individuals.