After National Service, John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. His publications include The Normans in Sicily; Mount Athos (with Reresby Sitwell); Sahara; The Architecture of Southern England; Glyndebourne; and A History of Venice. He was also the author of a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He wrote and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television, and was a regular lecturer on Venice and numerous other subjects. Lord Norwich was chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund and a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a Commendatore of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He was made a CVO in 1993.
Norwich made a brilliant decision to study them as an interacting quartet, rather than individually, for only in this way can one begin to understand how great events and great personalities were hopelessly entangled . . . charming * Sunday Telegraph * What makes this such a compelling read is that the author seasons his erudition with a sharp eye for the quirky fact and the sardonic comment . . . a fascinating and compulsive story -- John Ure * Country Life * Packed with extraordinary figures - not just the four princes, but artists and emperors too . . . a warm, witty and fascinating look at how such dynamic individuals shaped the Renaissance and the Reformation right across Europe throughout the sixteenth century * History Revealed * Scholarly and entertaining . . . This book provides a vivid and compelling picture of this turbulent century * BBC History Magazine * With characteristic deftness of touch, Norwich brings each character vividly to life and skilfully weaves their stories together . . . Norwich introduces a dazzling cast of characters: from Leonardo da Vinci to Martin Luther, Joanna the Mad to Anne Boleyn . . . the portrayal feels entirely fresh and enables the reader to gain new insights into some of history's most familiar characters. It is a genuinely inspired idea for a book, and Norwich executes it with typical aplomb -- Tracy Borman * BBC History Magazine * Wonderful . . . This was indeed a glorious age and Norwich has made a brilliant decision to study four idiosyncratic rulers as an interacting quartet rather than separately . . . A lively and charming book * THE TIMES *