A masterly exploration of the strange twists and turns of history, The World That Never Was is a true story of dreamers, schemers, anarchists and secret agents of the late nineteenth century.
Born in 1969, Alex Butterworth is an historian, writer and dramatist whose first book Pompeii- The Living City won the Longmans-History Today New Generation Book of the Year. He lives in Oxford.
"This is an amazing book full of incredible people all of whom turn out to be real and unbelievable stories, all of which turn out be true. Against a backdrop of late nineteenth century Europe and America in which staggering industrial progress went hand-in-hand with mass poverty and class struggle, Butterworth brilliantly teases out the paths and plots of the dedicated revolutionaries, deadly dilettantes, spies, informants, agents provocateurs, false counts and femmes fatales who made up the international anarchist movement, and its enemies. A genuine tour de force" -- David Aaronovitch
"A narrative taut with intrigue and freighted with contemporarysignificance" -- Bryce Christensen * Booklist *
"Intriguing, provocative and written with a novelist's eye for detail, this book is an engrossing journey into a murky, subterranean world." -- Mike Rapport * BBC History Magazine *
"One of the most absorbing depictions of the dark underside of radical politics in many years. ... Butterworth has opted to present the anarchists in a mode that emphasises narrative over analysis. The result is a riveting account, teeming with intrigue and adventure and packed with the most astonishing characters. One cannot help wishing there were more extended analysis, however, for when Butterworth does offer broader observations, they are exceptionally astute." -- John Gray * New Statesman *
"This is a thrilling and important book" -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *