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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read Book
Having purchased this book and read more than the previous "reviewer" I can say this book is excellent in bringing to life again (as I have read similar reports about most of the entries in other publications) some of the more unsavoury characters that ever graced the earth throughout history.
And for the benefit of a previous reviewer who doubted the existence of...
Published on 11 Nov 2008 by D. Blair

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good introductions but some odd choices
To begin positively I'll point out that many of the brief biographies in this book did prompt me to further research the fascinating characters they described and gives a solid overview of evil in all its forms from serial killers and cult leaders to dictators and demagogues. This books best purpose is to spark an interest in these people which the reader can...
Published on 13 Oct 2011 by Gilolc


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good introductions but some odd choices, 13 Oct 2011
This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
To begin positively I'll point out that many of the brief biographies in this book did prompt me to further research the fascinating characters they described and gives a solid overview of evil in all its forms from serial killers and cult leaders to dictators and demagogues. This books best purpose is to spark an interest in these people which the reader can explore.
However, there is definitely reason to question some of the author's choice of monsters. I was surprised and disappointed that Lucrezia Borgia was listed as a monster, while her far more villainous (and therefore more interesting) father and brothers were given a mere mention. And call me a communist sympathiser, but why is Che Guevara listed as a 'Doc-tator' here, while notable ethnic cleansers like Muhammad and David ben Gurion are counted as heroes in the authors twin book?
Certain figures, such as Basil 'The Bulgar slayer' and Jezebel are included based on acts that have little to no evidence to prove their existence, while the crimes of others are very vaguely described.
Overall this book was certainly instrumental in my gaining interest in certain historical figures, but standing on its own it cannot be praised as much more than a vague compendium for morbid fascination.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only in it for the money, 11 May 2009
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This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
I was pleased to observe that I'm not the only one who doesn't think much of this book. It really is as shallow as a book can be in my opinion. If it had been assembled (and that is the right word because written doesn't really apply) by a 15 year old, as a project, it might seem OK, but everything in it can be found on the internet, even the seemingly random illustrations. For example the illustration for Caligula is a picture of Malcolm McDowell in the dreadful film of the same name. That about summed it up for me. The layout is appalling, the text hurried at best and the overall effect is to undermine the rather better work this over-rated author has done in the past. Only done for money, and truly shabby.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing from an Accuracy Point of View, 26 Nov 2008
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Mrs. J. Trump "Secretary, Richard III Society" (Surrey, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
The above book is beautifully produced but on reading the article on Richard III in the book I was disappointed to see a re-hash of the old John Rous/Thomas More/William Shakespeare version of history. I appreciate that this is `popular' history but to rely on the largely disproved traditional history of Richard III is very unimaginative. Whatever their opinion of Richard III, most historians now agree that the Tudor version of Richard III is highly biased and inaccurate with the aim to discredit Richard to bolster Henry Tudor's own weak claim to the throne. Reference to Richard's deformities, the accusation that Richard affected the murder of his brother, George and the assertion that Richard was loathed during his life time for the murder of his nephews are all products of this traditional version which have been refuted successfully. It would have been far more refreshing if Mr Montefiore had used his talent to write a more honest version of accounts but of course Richard would then not be included in this book. My disappointment was even more compounded by errors in the research and the exaggeration in this piece.

However, I was very pleased to see that Richard's loyalty to his brother, Edward IV was highlighted, along with his reputation as an "able general and skilled administrator".

In this book, Richard III is in the company of some really evil people and yet a contemporary bishop, Thomas Langton, writing in 1483 wrote: "He contents the people wherever he goes... for many a poor man that suffered wrong has been helped by him... In many great cities and towns he refused great sums of money... God has sent him to us for the good of us all." This is hardly the description of a monster.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read Book, 11 Nov 2008
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D. Blair (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
Having purchased this book and read more than the previous "reviewer" I can say this book is excellent in bringing to life again (as I have read similar reports about most of the entries in other publications) some of the more unsavoury characters that ever graced the earth throughout history.
And for the benefit of a previous reviewer who doubted the existence of Sawney Bean and his cannibalistic family, there is more than ample evidence they were real - now read the book!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy it!, 30 Dec 2009
This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
It is incomprehensible that the same author wrote this book and Stalin, The Court of the Red Czar. The latter is thoroughly researched and beautifully written - Monsters is just a compendium of 'information' that any secondary school kid could have put together using copy and paste action from the quick google searh (information is often inaccurate, too, sadly). In conclusion - Montefiore, the credible author of his best selling books must be so embarrassed by this shameful attempt to cash in on his fame whilst he can - at least I hope he is so that he can write more of the good books to redeem himself. Advice to readers - don't buy this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Half part of Titans fo History, 15 May 2013
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P. Meulemeester (Sevilla, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Monsters: History's most evil men and women (Paperback)
If you read Titans and then bought, like I did, the Monsters and the Heroes of history, sabe on the investment. This book is a Split of the good people dealt with in Titans.
Felt a little "taken" by this.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A BROWSING BOOK, 19 Feb 2010
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This review is from: Monsters: History's most evil men and women (Paperback)
Whenever a selection of types of people are chosen by the author, the selection itself is often the interesting part-why was he selected and not him etc. This book as a good cross section of monsters, though most of the subjects are political, or they have a connection with the status quo. I found the early part of the book challenging, as all the Roman Emperors seemed demonic, and they seemed to follow one after the other. The more contemporary characters were more recognisable as they had been in the news in living memory-mine!!This is very much a book to dip in and out of, reading it straight through I found not to my satisfaction, as my knowledge of early history was not strong enough to fully understand all the implications. In each of the biographies there is an inset on some aspect of their lives or a potted history of their methods e.g cruxificion, which I found quite useful, but it makes the reading of the book somewhat disjointed. Arecommende or suggestive reading list would have been helpful as well, but a well written and interesting book
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monsters, 30 May 2012
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Mr. John Thompson "john80c" (Otley,England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Monsters: History's most evil men and women (Paperback)
Magnificent book by Simon Sebag Montefiore covering all the major villains from history.He has marvellous isight into what made these guys tick. it can be read from beginning to end or you can pick out your favourite villains.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally superficial - very disappointing, 29 Dec 2008
This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
I eagerly awaited this book as a Christmas gift and was disappointed by Boxing Day. There's nothing new or surprising and the facts are so superficial that I sometimes forgot who I was reading about as the "monsters" merged into one.

I expected some new details which I hadn't known before but the same old regurgitated stories came to light. I can't speculate on the accuracy of the facts but I had a bad feeling when I'd spotted two typos by page 25.

My opinion is that it's fine for the coffee table but not for the reference shelves. Perhaps over-ambitious in fitting in as many people as possible - may have been better to have concentrated on fewer characters with more juicy information!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Monsters (Hardcover)
Excellent.
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Monsters: History's most evil men and women
Monsters: History's most evil men and women by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Paperback - 6 Aug 2009)
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