Books

John Aubrey

Ruth Scurr

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD

This is the autobiography that John Aubrey never wrote.

You may not know his name. Aubrey was a modest man, a gentleman-scholar who cared far more for the preservation of history than for his own legacy. But he was a passionate collector, an early archaeologist and the inventor of modern biography.

With all the wit, charm and originality that characterises her subject, Ruth Scurr has seamlessly stitched together John Aubrey’s own words to tell his life story and a captivating history of seventeenth-century England unlike any other.

'A game-changer in the world of biography' Mary Beard

'Ingenious' Hilary Mantel

'Irresistible' Philip Pullman

Fatal Purity

Ruth Scurr

Robespierre was only thirty-six when he died, sent to the guillotine where he had sent thousands ahead of him. Robespierre and the Revolution were inseparable: a single inflexible tyrant. But what turned a shy young lawyer into the living embodiment of the Terror at its most violent? Admirers called him 'the great incorruptible'; critics dubbed him a 'monster', a 'bloodthirsty charlatan'.

Ruth Scurr sheds new light on this puzzle, tracing Robespierre's life from a troubled childhood in provincial Arras to the passionate idealist, fighting for the rights of the people, and sweeping on to the implacable leader prepared to sign the death warrant for his closest friends.

Biography

Born in 1971, Ruth Scurr is an historian of Political Thought, specialising in eighteenth-century France. She is an affiliated lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and is a regular reviewer for The Times and the Times Literary Supplement. This is her first book.