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Head of Zeus
Children of the Night
Children of the Night: The Strange and Epic Story of Modern Romania Paul Kenyon

A vivid, brilliant, darkly humorous and horrifying history of some of the strangest dictators that Europe has ever seen.

Balanced precariously on the shifting fault line between East and West, Romania's schizophrenic, often violent past is one of the great untold stories of modern Europe.

The country that gave us Vlad Dracula, and whose citizens consider themselves descendants of ancient Rome, has traditionally preferred the status of enigmatic outsider. But this beautiful and unexplored land has experienced some of the most disastrous leaderships of the last century.

After a relatively benign period led by a dutiful King and his vivacious British-born Queen, the country oscillated wildly. Its interwar rulers form a gallery of bizarre characters and extreme movements: the corrupt and mentally unbalanced King Carol; the fascist death cult led by Corneliu Codreanu; the vain General Ion Antonescu, who seized power in 1940 and led the country into a catastrophic alliance with Nazi Germany. After 1945 power was handed to Romania's tiny communist party, under which it experienced severe repression, purges and collectivisation.

Then in 1965, Nicolae Ceaușescu came to power. And thus began the strangest dictatorship of all.

'A witty and page-turning narrative full of grotesque characters' Misha Glenny

'Paul Kenyon sweeps away the myths of romance and horror that cling to this fascinating and mysterious country' Allan Little

'Absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in Romania past and present' John Simpson

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * History
19 Aug 2021 * 496pp * £9.99 * 9781789543155
'Paul Kenyon sweeps away the myths of romance and horror that cling to this fascinating and mysterious country and uncovers a history that is more gripping and colourful than the fiction. The characters that people his history are boldly animated and the narrative sizzles with energy'
Allan Little, BBC correspondent and author of The Death of Yugoslavia
'A witty and page-turning narrative full of grotesque characters who led the country into a series of disasters, from the home-grown fascism of Codreanu and Antonescu to the demented Stalinist personality cult of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu'
Misha Glenny, author of McMafia and The Balkans
'An excellent and beautifully researched book ... Absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in Romania past and present'
John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor

'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
Paul Kenyon
Paul Kenyon
Paul Kenyon is a distinguished BBC correspondent and BAFTA award-winning journalist and author. He has reported from danger-zones around the world for BBC Panorama, pushing the boundaries of investigative journalism and asking the questions many wouldn't dare – from tackling Gaddafi's son in a cage full of lions, to secretly filming Iran's secret nuclear sites. He's even faked his own death in a Haitian funeral parlour to expose a group of fraudsters. Kenyon is the recipient of an Association of International Broadcasters Award, three Royal Television Society awards, and is the author of Dictatorland, a Financial Times Book of the Year in 2018. He lives in London with his wife, Flavia.
ALSO BY Paul Kenyon