Books by Giles Milton

Giles Milton is the author of Samurai William (FSG, 2003), The Riddle and the Knight (FSG, 2001), Big Chief Elizabeth (FSG, 2000) and Nathaniel's Nutmeg (FSG, 1999). He lives in London.

Released: Jan. 8, 2019

"A worthy commemoration of a key historical moment, the 75th anniversary of which falls in 2019."
Anecdotal history of D-Day, when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 7, 2017

"An exciting, suspenseful tale of international intrigue."
An elegant presentation of Winston Churchill's special guerrilla operations force, which consistently met the dirty exigencies of war. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2016

"Perfect for bathroom reading or a doctor's waiting room."
The British journalist continues to collect little-known events and factoids from history. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2016

"A few chapters will elicit a response of 'so what?' But there's enough adventure, gore, and mystery to make this volume mostly entertaining."
Hitler's love child and other shocking speculations. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2014

"A beguiling ride through a riotous time by a historian and able storyteller who knows his facts and his audience."
This chronicle of British undercover push back against Bolshevik world conspiracy proves to be an exciting ringside seat at the Russian Revolution. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 11, 2011

"A fine addition to the dwindling number of firsthand World War II personal stories."
Discovering that his father-in-law, a celebrated artist named Wolfram, endured a long, miserable experience in the Wehrmacht, popular historian Giles (Paradise Lost: Smyrna, 1922, 2008, etc.) suspected correctly that he had material for a fresh look at a familiar genre. Read full book review >
CALL ME GORGEOUS! by Giles Milton
Released: Nov. 1, 2009

The creature that inhabits these pages (the ending tag line is the title) is gorgeous indeed, and it is displayed in an inventive piece of bookmaking. The text is straightforward: "I've got reindeer antlers / and the ears of a pig," say the first two-page spreads. The text floats on a sea of white space, along with a close-up view of "a flamingo's neck" or "a chameleon's tail." These images, made in torn, cut and shaped handmade papers and color pencils, are dramatic glimpses of the part in question and not always recognizable. The flamingo's neck is an undulating curve of shocking pinks. The "ears of a pig" are exquisite, fuzzy, pale-rose-and-ecru objects with only a hint of either ear-ness or piggy-ness. The porcupine's spines are a dense thicket of inky, gray lines. At the end, the full vision of the "reinde-piggy-porcu-croco-touca-flami-roos-dalma-chameleo-bat-frog" is revealed to be gorgeous indeed. The endpapers hold full images of each of the 11 animals whose parts make up our winged, beaked, antlered and spiny Gorgeous. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2008

"Teaches a lesson that needs repeating: Genocide is never the work of a few perverted individuals but springs from common patriotism accompanied by intense hatred of national enemies."
Gripping account of a half-forgotten 20th-century war that ended in gruesome ethnic cleansing. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 18, 2003

"A remarkable tale that might have fallen from the inventive lips of Scheherazade. (3 maps, 47 illustrations)"
Popular historian Milton (The Riddle and the Knight, 2001, etc.) returns with another page-turner: a chronicle of the actual events underlying James Clavell's novel Shogun (1975). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"A diverting if slightly underdone effort."
Originally published in Britain in 1996, this trek in the footsteps of a medieval Englishman created the template for Milton's later studies of historic journeys (Nathaniel's Nutmeg, 1999; Big Chief Elizabeth, 2000). Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"Diligent scholarship and brilliant storytelling: a fascinating study that dispels many popular myths regarding America's colonization."
A spellbinding narrative on the preliminary attempts at colonization of North America by the British. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1999

Milton (The Riddle and the Knight, not reviewed) deftly and arrestingly captures the sorry history of the European lust for nutmeg and its devastating impact on the Spice Islands. Spices from the Orient were already costly curiosities when 16th-century European pharmacists bestowed upon nutmeg a truly marvelous property: It could cure the plague, they said (and dysentery and sexual torpor and a host of other ailments). As most European cities were disease-ridden pest holes at the time, the value of the rare spice took off like a prairie fire. So started the Spice Wars, a series of squalid, brutal engagements between the English, Dutch, and Portuguese, played out on the small Pacific islands now known as the Moluccas, and recounted here by Milton with beguiling fluidity. Milton traces European involvement with the Spice Islands from the time they were merely an exquisite rumor peddled by spice traders from Constantinople through to the surrender of New Amsterdam to the English in return for the latter's quitting the tiny nutmeg island of Run, said island defended by the eponymous Nathaniel Courthope, who with a handful of stalwarts, repelled much larger forces of invasion. Along the way, Milton unfurls more treachery and deceit, acts of political subterfuge and chicanery, displays of cruelty and mortification (along with an occasional show of courage and decency, though "the voice of conscience is never loud— in 16th-century mariners, notes the author) than you could squeeze into a pulp thriller. It's a classic portrait of colonial barbarity that results in the eradication of an entire native population and then ends in a whimper: The British transplanted the trees to colonial Bencoolen and Singapore and Ceylon, and, oh yes, nutmeg didn't cure the plague either. Milton is a storyteller of the first rank, with a knack for quick character sketches, an eye for what is important and what is dross, and a refreshing sense of humor, even amid the smoke and ruin he so well describes. Read full book review >