The World by Simon Sebag Montefiore is a fresh new history of the world, told through families. It begins with the first human footsteps ever found: a family of five, an adult and four children, walking along a beach 950,000 years ago. This is a history of deep themes - religion, empire, technology, ideology - but tethered to the biography of families at the heart of the essential drama of human existence. All life, every race and faith, is here, a study of interconnectivity and hybridity.The families in this book are African, Asian, European, American, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Christian: they ruled kingdoms from Benin and Rome, Mali to Beijing, Cairo to Tokyo, Angkor to Constantinople. We meet the families of Genghis Khan and the Caesars, the Ottomans and Habsburgs, the Ethiopian Solomonids and Japanese Sun lineages, the Medici, the Incas, the Saudis, Castros and Rothschilds, right up to the Assads and Kims, the Kennedys, Bushes and the Obamas.The World is the story of humanity from prehistory to the present day, examining power, literature, war, art, science and daily life, and features the lives of a stunningly eclectic cast of the unknown and the great, each of whom are connected in a multitude of ways. Montefiore weaves a compelling narrative introducing the reader to the exuberance, ingenuity, idiosyncrasy, cruelty and misery of human experience, the variety of character and of culture, and presents the history of the world in all its complexity as no writer has done before.