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About the Author: John Julius Norwich


Norwich is the only child of the Conservative politician and diplomat Duff Cooper and of Lady Diana Cooper, a celebrated beauty and society figure. Through his father, he is descended from King William IV and his mistress Dorothea Jordan.

He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada (as a wartime evacuee), at Eton College, and at the University of Strasbourg. He served in the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford.

Joining the British Foreign Service after Oxford, John Julius Cooper served in Yugoslavia and Lebanon, and as a member of British delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. At his father's death in 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich, created for Duff Cooper in 1952, which made him a member of the British House of Lords.

In 1964, Norwich left the diplomatic service to become a writer. Apart from his many books (see list), he has also served as editor of series such as Great Architecture of the World, The Italian World, The New Shell Guides to Great Britain, The Oxford Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Art and the Duff Cooper Diaries. Norwich has often contributed to Cornucopia, a magazine devoted to the history and culture of Turkey.

Norwich has worked extensively in radio and television. He was host of the BBC radio panel game My Word! for four years (1978-1982) and also a regional contestant on Round Britain Quiz. He has written and presented some 30 television documentaries, including The Fall of Constantinople, Napoleon's Hundred Days, Cortés and Montezuma, The Antiquities of Turkey, The Gates of Asia, Maximilian of Mexico, Toussaint l'Ouverture of Haiti, The Knights of Malta and The Death of the Prince Imperial in the Zulu War.

Norwich has also worked for various charitable projects. He is Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Honorary Chairman of the World Monuments Fund, and a Vice-President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies[2]. For many years he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust, and also served on the Board of English National Opera.


Lord Norwich was appointed CVO in 1992 after acting as curator of a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition entitled 'Sovereign', which marked the 40th anniversary of the accession of H. M. The Queen.

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Find the best price forThe Middle Sea

A History of the Mediterranean by

Goodreads rating: 3.85

Paperback, Published in Jul 2007 by Vintage

ISBN10: 1844133087 | ISBN13: 9781844133086

Page count: 688

The Mediterranean has nurtured three of the most dazzling civilisations of antiquity, witnessed the birth or growth of three of our greatest religions and links three of the world's six continents. To the peoples living around its periphery, it has served at various times as a cradle and a grave, a bond and a barrier, a blessing and a battlefield. It has inspired writers from Homer and Virgil to Norman Douglas and Patrick Leigh Fermor. Geographically, it is unlike any other sea in the world; in historical importance also, it stands alone.

John Julius Norwich has visited every country around its shores; he has written histories of Norman Sicily, of Venice and of Byzantium. Now at last he tells the story of the Middle Sea itself - a story that begins with the Phoenicians and the Pharaohs and ends with the Treaty of Versailles.

He takes us through the Arab conquests of Syria and North Africa; the Holy Roman Empire and the Crusades; Ferdinand and Isabella and the Spanish Inquisition; the great sieges of Rhodes and Malta by the Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent; the pirates of the Barbary Coast and the Battle of Lepanto; Nelson and Napoleon; the Greek War of Independence and the Italian Risorgimento.

The story ends with the tragic Gallipoli campaign and the war in the desert which brought fame to the enigmatic T.E. Lawrence.

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