Best Selling Books by Simon Schama

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release date: Oct 24, 2017
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The Story of the Jews Volume Two: Belonging: 1492-1900

In the second of three volumes of this magnificently illustrated cultural history, the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews, Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish people from 1492 through the end of nineteenth century

Simon Schama’s great project continues and the Jewish story is woven into the fabric of humanity. Their search for a home where a distinctive religion and culture could be nourished without being marginalized suddenly takes on startling resonance in our own epoch of homelessness, wanderings, persecutions, and anxious arrivals.

Volume 2 of The Story of the Jews epic tells the stories of many who seldom figure in Jewish histories: not just the rabbis and the philosophers but a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a general in Ming China; a boxer in Georgian England, a Bible showman in Amsterdam; a teacher of the deaf in eighteenth-century France, an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stagecoaches and the railways, trudges the dawn streets of London with a pack load of old clothes, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army.

Through Schama’s passionate and intelligent telling, a story emerges of the Jewish people that feels as if it is the story of everyone, of humanity packed with detail, this second chronicle in an epic tale will shed new light on a crucial period of history.

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release date: Oct 24, 2017
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Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

This fully illustrated catalog accompanies Damien Hirst’s (born 1965) most ambitious project to date, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable.

The exhibition of 189 works is now on display in Venice, across the two expansive museum spaces of the Pinault Collection: Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi.

Exceptional in scale and scope, this complex project has been almost ten years in the making and tells the story of an ancient shipwreck and its recent discovery. The catalog features 200 color plates, installation images and a comprehensive, illustrated list of works with texts on selected pieces. Also included is an essay by underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, who discovered the lost city of Thonis-Heracleion off the Egyptian shore in 2000. In addition are contributions from historian Simon Schama and curator Henri Loyrette, former director of the Louvre, as well as the exhibition’s curator, Elena Geuna.

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release date: Mar 18, 2014
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The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC - 1492 AD

In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews—Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish experience, tracing it across three millennia, from their beginnings as an ancient tribal people to the opening of the New World in 1492 to the modern day.

It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.

It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea.

And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.

Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.

release date: Sep 30, 2014
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The Essential Cy Twombly
Recognized as one of the greatest and most idiosyncratic artists of the postwar era, Cy Twombly left behind an oeuvre of incredible versatility, sensitivity and originality upon his death in 2011 at age 83. Working in the immediate aftermath of Abstract Expressionism, Twombly developed an intensely personal scription consisting of scrawled letters and words, in an effusive, calligraphic mark-making that suggests a kind of painted poetry. Working across painting, drawing, sculpture and photography with a restless energy, Twombly incorporated the gods of Ancient Greece, the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé and the history, culture and mythology of the Occident into his art. The Essential Cy Twombly, edited by Twombly's longtime collaborator Nicola Del Roscio, is the ultimate overview of his work, presenting the most important paintings and cycles of paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs from Twombly's diverse oeuvre. The most accessible survey of his work to date, this volume includes essays by Laszlo Glozer, Thierry Greub, Kirk Varnedoe and Simon Schama.
Edwin Parker (Cy) Twombly (1928-2011) was born in Lexington, Virginia. He lived and worked in New York in the early 1950s (where he met Robert Rauschenberg, with whom he was to have a long personal and artistic relationship) and studied at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina before traveling around North Africa, Spain and Italy and ultimately settling in Rome before the end of the decade, just as the art world was shifting its center of gravity to New York. Best known for his paintings and drawings, often executed on a massive scale across multiple canvases, Twombly also made sculptures and photographs.
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release date: Mar 17, 1990
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Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
In this New York Times bestseller, award-winning author Simon Schama presents an ebullient country, vital and inventive, infatuated with novelty and technology--a strikingly fresh view of Louis XVI's France. One of the great landmarks of modern history publishing, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution is the most authoritative social, cultural, and narrative history of the French Revolution ever produced.
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release date: Dec 08, 1997
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The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age
Schama explores the mysterious contradictions of the Dutch nation that invented itself from the ground up, attained an unprecedented level of affluence, and lived in constant dread of being corrupted by happiness. Drawing on a vast array of period documents and sumptuously reproduced art, Schama re-creates in precise detail a nation's mental state. He tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. He tells us how the Dutch celebrated themselves and how they were slandered by their enemies.



"History on the grand scale...An ambitious portrait of one of the most remarkable episodes in modern history."--New York Times


"Wonderfully inclusive; with wit and intense curiosity he teases out meaning from every aspect of Dutch seventeenth-century life."--Robert Hughes
release date: Nov 05, 1996
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Landscape And Memory
A Time Magazine Best Books of the Year. In Landscape and Memory, award-winning author Simon Schama ranges over continents and centuries to reveal the psychic claims that human beings have made on nature. He tells of the Nazi cult of the primeval German forest; the play of Christian and pagan myth in Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers; and the duel between a monumental sculptor and a feminist gadfly on the slopes of Mount Rushmore. The result is a triumphant work of history, naturalism, mythology, and art, as encyclopedic as The Golden Bough and as irresistibly readable as Schama's own Citizens

"A work of great ambition and enormous intellectual scope...consistently provocative and revealing."--New York Times


"Extraordinary...a summary cannot convey the riches of this book. It will absorb, instruct, and fascinate."--New York Review of Books
release date: Sep 16, 2016
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The Face of Britain: A History of the Nation Through Its Portraits
Author of a number of celebrated works, including the bestselling The Story of the Jews and Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Simon Schama's latest book fuses history and art to create a tour de force of narrative sweep and illuminating insight. Using images from works-paintings, photographs, lithographs, etchings, sketches-found in London's National Portrait Gallery, The Face of Britain weaves together an account of their composition, framed by their particular moment of creation, and in the process unveils a collective portrait of nation and its history.

"Portraits," Schama writes, "have always been made with an eye to posterity." Commissioned to paint Winston Churchill in 1954, Graham Sutherland struggled with how to capture the "savior" of Great Britain honestly and humanely. Schama calls the portrait, initially damned, the "most powerful image of a Great Briton ever executed." Annie Leibovitz's photograph of a nude John Lennon kissing Yoko Ono, taken five hours before his murder, bears "a weight of poignancy she could not possibly have anticipated." Hans Holbein's preparatory sketch for a portrait of Henry VIII depicts "an unstoppable engine of dynastic generation." Here are expressions from across the centuries of normalcy and heroism, beauty and disfigurement, aristocracy and deprivation, the familiar and the obscure-the faces of courtesans, warriors, workers, activists, playwrights, the high and mighty as well as pub-crawlers. Linking them is Schama's vibrant exploration of how their connective power emerges from the dynamic between subject and artist, work and viewer, time and place.

Schama's compelling analysis and impassioned evocation of these works create an unforgettable verbal mosaic that at once reveals and transforms the images he places before us. Lavishly illustrated and written with the storytelling brio that is Schama's trademark, The Face of Britain invites us to look at a nation's visual legacies and find its reflection.
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release date: Oct 25, 2000
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A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3500 B.C. - 1603 A.D.
Simon Schama's magesterial new book encompasses over 1,500 years of Britain's history, from the first Roman invasions to the early seventeenth century, and the extraordinary reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Schama, the author of the highly acclaimed Citizens and The Embarrassment of Riches, is one of the most popular and celebrated historians of our day, and in this magnificent work he brings history to dramatic life with a wealth of stories and vivid, colorful detail, reanimating familiar figures and events and drawing them skillfully into a powerful and compelling narrative. Schama's perspective moves from the birth of civilization to the Norman Conquest; through the religious wars and turbulance of the Middle Ages to the sovereignties of Henry II, Richard I and King John; through the outbreak of the Black Death, which destroyed nearly half of Europe's population, through the reign of Edward I and the growth of national identity in Wales and Scotland, to the intricate conflicts of the Tudors and the clash between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Driven by the drama of the stories themselves but exploring at the same time a network of interconnected themes--the formation of a nation state, the cyclical nature of power, the struggles between the oppressors and the oppressed--this is a superbly readable and illuminating account of a great nation, and its extraordinary history.
release date: Jan 27, 2015
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Rembrandt's Eyes
This dazzling, unconventional biography shows us why, more than three centuries after his death, Rembrandt continues to exert such a hold on our imagination. Deeply familiar to us through his enigmatic self-portraits, few facts are known about the Leiden miller's son who tasted brief fame before facing financial ruin (he was even forced to sell his beloved wife Saskia's grave). The true biography of Rembrandt, as Simon Schama demonstrates, is to be discovered in his pictures. Interweaving of seventeenth-century Holland, Schama allows us to see Rembrandt in a completely fresh and original way.
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