Crucible: The Long End of the Great War and the Birth of A New World, 1917-1924


What comes first: the character of the times, or the characters who give it theirs? ‘Crucible’ charts the trajectories of the characters who fell from power in the bloody breakdown of Europe’s old order between 1917 and 1924, and those who for whom the restless chaos marked the beginning of an unlikely rise to fame.

Not yet published


‘Gripping . . . An amazingly audacious and completely innovative way of writing history’ WILLIAM BOYD

An enthralling narrative history with an international cast of characters that captures this definitive period after the close of the Great War.

Lenin and Hitler, Einstein and Hemingway, Josephine Baker and Rosa Luxemburg, Marcus Garvey and Mustafa Kemal: key players and participants in a world on the cusp of modernity, at a moment when anything seemed possible.

As the First World War reaches its awful climax, a shockwave of creative destruction is released. Europe is torn apart by revolution. America is in flames. A deadly pandemic stalks the globe. The curtain rises on a dangerous and exciting new era not unlike our own: of populists and prophets, freedom fighters and fascists, radical new ideas and clashing ideologies contesting an uncertain future.

Crucible is the collective diary of this era, filled with vaulting dreams, dark fears, grubby ambitions and the absurdities of chance. Encompassing both tragedy and humour, it brings immediacy and intimacy to a moment of deep historical transformation – with consequences that echo down to today.

‘Dazzling . . . A compelling patchwork depiction of an era’ TLS

‘This buoyant study of life after the Great War illuminates the part that chance plays in history’ Observer

Additional information

Weight 0.67 kg
Dimensions 21.5 × 13.5 × 4.5 cm






xi, 739




940.51 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K