An utterly compelling, wickedly sharp narrative history of one of the strangest countries in Europe, by the bestselling author of Dictatorland.
The only country in Eastern Europe to speak a Latin language, Romania has always felt itself different, and its unique fate has been to experience some of the most disastrous leaderships of the last century. In the First World War her German king remained neutral until 1916. The interwar rulers form a gallery of bizarre characters and movements: the corrupt King Carol; the antisemitic Iron Guard led by Corneliu Codreanu; the vain general Ion Antonescu who seized power in 1940 and led the country into alliance with Nazi Germany. After 1945 power was handed over to Romania's tiny communist party, under whom it experienced severe repression, purges and collectivisation.
Then in 1964, Nicolae Ceaușescu came to power. And thus began the strangest dictatorship in recent European history.
Children of the Night is also a personal discovery of this extraordinary country, bringing together Paul Kenyon's eye for the private vices and kleptocratic tendencies of despots with a heartfelt exploration of the fate of one Romanian family in particular.
'The stories it tells of dictators such as Robert Mugabe and Muammer Gaddafi are grimly fascinating and leave the reader to ponder why so many of Africa's liberation heroes turned into villains' Finanical Times, Books of the Year.
'A familiar story, but still shocking' Sunday Times.
'Mr Kenyon narrates a jaw-dropping tale of greed, corruption and brutality' Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express.
'Dictatorland is a humane, timely, accessible and well-researched book that shines a light on urgent African issues […] that, when we consider the state of our own societies, can no longer be dismissed as merely somewhere else's problem' Irish Times.
'It is [the] minute observations that make Mr Kenyon's book so hard to put down' Economist.
'Highly readable ... A chapter on the rise of Félix Houphouët-Boigny is especially vivid' The Times