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Originally published in 1954, The Wilder Shores of Love pioneered a new kind of group biography focusing on four nineteenth-century European women "escaping the boredom of convention". They leave behind them the industrialized West for the Middle East, to find love, fulfillment, and "glowing horizons of emotion and daring".

Isabel Burton (who married the Arabist and explorer Richard), Jane Digby el-Mezrab (Lady Ellenborough, the society beauty who ended up living in the Syrian desert with a Bedouin chieftain), Aimee Dubucq de Rivery (a French convent girl captured by pirates who was gifted to the Sultan’s harem in Istanbul), and Isabelle Eberhardt (a Swiss-Russian linguist who felt most comfortable in boy’s clothes and lived among the Arabs in the Sahara).

Lesley Blanch felt the greatest affinity with Jane Digby, the society beauty who ended up living in the Syrian desert with a Bedouin chieftain: "She had a superb home in Damascus, was uninhibited, rode through life jumping all the fences, social and moral." 

A scholarly romantic, Lesley Blanch influenced and inspired generations of writers, readers and critics. The Wilder Shores of Love has remained in print in English since it was first published, and is considered to be an excellent example of the genre narrative non-fiction. 

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About the author

Lesley Blanch was a distinguished writer, artist, drama critic, and features editor of British Vogue during World War II. The author of twelve books, including Journey into the Mind's Eye, The Sabres of Paradise: Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus, Around the World in 80 Dishes, Pierre Loti, Pavilions of the Heart and The Nine Tiger Man, she died in 2007, age 103. Her memoirs On the Wilder Shores of Love: A Bohemian Life are published by Virago. To learn more about Lesley, visit her website at


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Mar 11, 2015
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Biography & Autobiography / Historical
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A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

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Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017. 

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