Talk:Simon Sebag Montefiore

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Relation to other Montefiores?[edit]

What is the relation between Simon Sebag Montefiore and Hugh William Montefiore, Bishop of Birmingham? DFH 12:04, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Nauseating self-promotion[edit]

"Montefiore's writing style and choice of content distinguish him as a new breed of biographer who seeks to engage and appeal to the reader, rather than just tell a factual narrative."

[vomits all over keyboard]

If you're going to include this self-promoting nonsense, it might be worth including a 'criticisms' section which would question whether SMM ought to be described as a historian at all. As I understand it, a 'historian' is a professional academic. Montefiore is a writer; I would not even stoop to call him a writer of history ('popular fiction' might be more accurate).

Historian is defined as, "a writer of history" and "a person learned in or studying history"; history is defined as, "the study of past events" (Oxford Pocket American Dictionary of Current English, OUP, New York, 2002).
Of SSM's works I have only read "Stalin - The Court of the Red Tsar" (2003) which was very well received by such eminent historians as Antony Beevor, Andrew Roberts, Robert Service, Anne Applebaum and my old teacher Richard Overy. That work, which is fully referenced and noted with a comprehensive index and bibliography, appears fully to qualify as history. Regrettably the Wikipedia article on SSM is not one of the best.
I have read a few of his list-books, and I am appalled by how unprofessional he wrote those books. He allows his personal opinions and interpretations to hide the presentation of known facts and he frequently draws conclusions that really should be the reader's to make for themselves. From these books he would seem to be able to work on dramatization pseudo-history, but he seems unfit to be a historian. He neglects to mention the sources for his words, making it unfit for a high-school history paper. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
I am wondering if you would care to elaborate on your comment, "I would not even stoop to call him a writer of history ('popular fiction' might be more accurate)."
Marktunstill (talk) 20:29, 29 March 2008 (UTC)


Is SSM Jewish? I see there's a wkikproject Judaism tag on this talk page, but there's nothing in the article mentioning that he might be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nickpheas (talkcontribs) 19:26, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Limerick pogrom / boycott[edit]

The phrase "survived the Limerick pogrom" is highly tendentious in this article. I am surprised that Mr Montefiore allows it to stand. Shameful as it was, the Limerick Pogrom was not violent. It was an economic boycott waged against the small Jewish community in Limerick, originating in their use of high interest rates, rates which were in no way illegal at the time. No one was killed or seriously injured. Many left, however, and went to Cork, intending to embark on ships from Cobh to travel to America. The people of Cork met them and welcomed them into their homes. Church premises were opened for them. Most remained, fortunately for Ireland since many of their children went on to take a leading part in both political and cultural life in Ireland, for example as Lord Mayors of Dublin (three times) and Cork, as well as in modern art, film and literature. Chaim Herzog, sixth president of Israel, who was born and grew up in Ireland, states in his memoirs that that Ireland has no history of anti-Semitism. His father, Yitzhak Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, stated that the Irish were the only people of Europe never to have raised their hand against the Jews. In 1937, at a time when anti-Jewish laws had already been passed by the German Nazi parliament, a phrase was inserted in the Irish constitution guaranteeing Jews in Ireland protection. Numerous other examples of Jewish safety in Ireland could be given. And even more examples of international Jewish generosity to Ireland, particularly in the aftermath of the Great Famine of 1848.

Last year (2010) the new Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, said that in Limerick, “There was a kind of a boycott against Jewish merchandise for a while, but that's not a pogrom.’ A long-standing Jewish resident, Mr Stuart Clein, agreed and told the ambassador that the term "Limerick pogrom" was completely inaccurate. I am surprised that Mr Montefiore, a professional historian, should continue to propagate this inaccuracy, both in books and on television.Tessalonika (talk) 05:12, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Based on Dermot Keogh's work on this subject 'The Limerick Boycott of 1904' and the review of this by Diarmaid Ferriter a consensus has been reached that the accurate term for this event is the Limerick Boycott. The 1911 census of Ireland also shows that some of Montefiore's ancestors were still living in Limerick seven years after the Boycott. Marcus Jaffé, Montefiore's great grandfather, is still practising as a dentist in the city of Limerick in 1925. For more info see the relevant page (Limerick Boycott). Huxley10 (talk) 13:31, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Opinion of his books[edit]

Currently reading 'Sashenka' which is a bit over dramatic in parts but an interesting fictional take on the Russian Revolution and what it might have been like at that time. I also intend to read his two books on Stalin, although more likely 'The Court of the Red Tsar', with my interest sparked in Stalin by reading Robert Harris's 'Archangel'. I would also like to look at his book on Catherine the Great and Potemkin.

I think I will give his book 'Jerusalem' a miss as it doesn't seem that appealing. I think SSM's strength lies in his knowledge of Russian history and he should steer clear of writing about Jewish history just because he has Jewish ancestry himself. Always a mistake, I think, to write about a subject that the author himself is interested in it but which may not have worldwide appeal.Ivankinsman (talk) 13:30, 25 April 2011 (UTC)