Barnaby Rogerson has written a dozen books about North Africa and Early Islam but his latest work brings him much closer to home. "A Book Full of Rogersons" is a family record based on stories reaching back over fifteen generations, as told to Barnaby by his great aunt, Evelyn Victoria Rogerson who was born in 1900.
Barnaby's acclaimed biography of The Prophet Muhammad was followed by the story of first four Caliphs of Islam, The Heirs of the Prophet. Before this he had written half a dozen guidebooks (to Morocco, Tunisia, Cyprus, Scotland and Istanbul) and a History of North Africa (now in its third edition).
More recent works include The Last Crusaders which is the story of the conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Last Crusader Kings of Christendom such as the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, his bastard son Don Juan and his young cousin, Dom Sebastian, the boy-king of Portugal.
2010 saw the publication of Don McCullin's book, Southern Frontiers, a photographic tour across the Roman ruins of the Levant and the Maghreb to which Barnaby has contributed the text. In November 2013, Barnaby Rogerson's Book of Numbers was published by Profile Books. William Dalrymple wrote: 'Dangerously addictive, wonderfully witty and crazily wide-ranging and erudite.' Barnaby is currently writing A House Divided, the story of the Shia and Sunni schism for Profile.
In 2017, Barnaby published In Search of Ancient North Africa, a history in six lives, published by Haus. This is a quest into the ruins and historical myths that circle around a sacrificial Queen (Dido), the world's greatest general (Hannibal) and the Berber cavalry commander who defeated him (Masinissa), the North African who brought the Roman Empire to its greatest zenith (the Emperor Septimius Severus), a careerist academic turned saint (Augustine) and a prisoner of war who became a compliant tool of the Roman Empire (Juba II).
Over the last fifteen years he has also written three hundred travel articles, book reviews and historical essays on various North African and Islamic themes. This work has appeared in the pages of Vanity Fair, Cornucopia, Condé Nast Traveller, Geographical, Traveller, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, House & Garden, Harpers & Queen and the TLS.
His day job is running Eland Publishing with his partner Rose Baring, which specializes in keeping the classics of travel literature in print. The hundred or so titles of this growing list can be viewed at www.travelbooks.co.uk.
Barnaby has set up barnabyrogerson.com as a store house of travel stories and historical anecdotes brought back from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Turkey, Syria, Mali, Niger and Ethiopia. Click here for more detailed biography.
More on new North Africa book
For 40 years, Barnaby Rogerson has travelled across North Africa, making sense of the regions complex and fascinating history as both a writer and a guide. Throughout that time, there have always been a handful of stories he could not pin into neat, tidy narratives; stories that were not distinctly good or bad, tragic or pathetic, selfish or heroic, malicious or noble.
This book, neither a work of history nor travel writing, is a journey into the ruins of a landscape to make sense of these stories through the lives of five men and one woman. A sacrificial refugee (Queen Dido), a prisoner-of-war who became a compliant tool of the Roman Empire (King Juba), an unpromising provincial who, as Emperor, brought the Empire to its dazzling apogee (Septimius Severus), an intellectual careerist who became a bishop and a saint (St Augustine), the greatest General the world has ever known (Hannibal), and the Berber Cavalry General who eventually defeated him (Masinissa).
Though all six lives have been clouded with as much myth as fact, the destinies of these North African figures remain highly relevant today. Their descendants are faced with the same choices: Do you stay pure to your own culture and fight against the power of the West, or do you study and assimilate this other culture, and utilise its skills? Will it greet you as an ally only to own you as a slave? The chosen heroes of this book represent classical North Africa, and not the familiar drum roll of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Hadrian, Constantine and Justinian. In between these life stories, we explore ruins which tell their own tales and see the multiple interconnections that bind the culture of this region with the wider world, particularly the spiritual traditions of the ancient Near East. With photographs from Don McCullin.
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