Simon Jonathan Sebag Montefiore (/ˌsaɪmən ˌsiːbæɡ ˌmɒntᵻfiˈɔːri/; born 27 June 1965) is a British historian, television presenter and award-winning author of popular history books and novels.
Simon Montefiore was born in London. His father was Stephen Eric Sebag Montefiore and his brother is Hugh Sebag-Montefiore. They are descended from a line of wealthy Sephardi Jews who were diplomats and bankers all over Europe and who originated from Morocco and Italy. At the start of the 19th century, his great-uncle, Sir Moses Montefiore, was an international financier who worked with the Rothschild family and who became a philanthropist. His mother, Phyllis April Jaffé, comes from a Lithuanian Jewish family of scholars. Her parents fled the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. They bought tickets for New York City, but were cheated, being instead dropped off at Cork, Ireland. Due to the Limerick boycott in 1904 his grandfather Henry Jaffé left the country and moved to Newcastle, England.
Montefiore was educated at Ludgrove School and Harrow School. He read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). He won an Exhibition to Caius College.
Montefiore worked as a banker, a foreign affairs journalist, and a war correspondent covering the conflicts during the fall of the Soviet Union.
Montefiore's book Catherine the Great & Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, and the Marsh Biography Award. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won History Book of the Year at the 2004 British Book Awards. Young Stalin won the LA Times Book Prize for Best Biography, the Costa Book Award, the Bruno Kreisky Award for Political Literature, Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Jerusalem: The Biography was a number one non-fiction Sunday Times bestseller and a global bestseller and won The Book of the Year Prize from the Jewish Book Council. His latest history is The Romanovs, 1613–1918.
Montefiore's debut novel King's Parade was published in 1991. The Spectator called the book "embarrassing" and "extremely silly".
Montefiore is also the author of the acclaimed novels Sashenka and One Night in Winter. One Night in Winter won the Political Novel of the Year Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor of Humanities at the University of Buckingham.
Montefiore lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.
- Non Fiction
- The Romanovs 1613–1918 (2016)
- Titans of History (2012)
- Jerusalem: The Biography (2011)
- Young Stalin (2007)
- Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (2004)
- Catherine the Great and Potemkin (2001) (originally published as The Prince of Princes: The Life of Potemkin)
- One Night in Winter (2013)
- Sashenka (2008)
- My Affair with Stalin (1997)
- King's Parade (1991)
- Jerusalem: The Making of a Holy City, 3 part series, 8 December 2011 – 23 December 2011
- Rome: A History of the Eternal City, 3 part series, 5–19 December 2012
- Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities, 3 part series, 5 December 2013 – 19 December 2013
- Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain, 3 part series, 8 December 2015 – 22 December 2015
- Vienna: Empire, Dynasty And Dream'm, 3 part series, 8 December 2016 – 22 December 2016
- Speeches that Changed The World
- Jerusalem: The Making of a Holy City, BBC, 2011
- Byzantium and the History of Faith