A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided by Amanda Foreman - review by Saul David

Saul David

Lyon’s Share

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


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 814pp £30 order from our bookshop

More than a decade has passed since Amanda Foreman burst onto the literary scene with her prize-winning and bestselling debut, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Since then marriage, children and a move to New York have delayed the follow-up. But it’s been worth the wait because A World on Fire, charting Britain’s pivotal role in the American Civil War, is nothing less than a tour de force.

Born in England and brought up in America, Foreman can see the war from both perspectives and is the ideal guide for this fascinating tale of diplomatic intrigue and skulduggery. While her narrative concentrates on the four chief diplomatists – the Britons Lord John Russell and Lord Lyons,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Art of Darkness

Cambridge, Shakespeare

Follow Literary Review on Twitter