An epic exploration of who gets to write the history books, and how the biases of certain storytellers--from Caesar to Shakespeare to Simon Schama--continue to influence our ideas about history today.

There are many stories we can spin about the past, but which stories get told? And by whom? One human being can shape our understanding of the past through the prism of his or her own beliefs and prejudices. And in this book Cohen reveals how historians--and other critical witnesses such as the writers of the Bible, novelists, and political propagandists--influence accepted accounts of the human experience.

The depth of Cohen's inquiry, and the delight he takes in his subjects--even the practitioners of what he calls "Bad History," those villains who twist reality to glorify themselves and conceal their own terrible behavior--make this an authoritative and supremely entertaining volume.

In The History-Makers, Cohen investigates the published works and private utterances of our greatest historical thinkers to discover the influences and biases that informed their scholarship and views of the world, and which in so many ways have informed ours. From the origins of journalism through television and the digital age, The History-Makers is packed with captivating figures brought to vivid life, from Thucydides and Tacitus to Voltaire and Gibbon, Ulysses Grant, Winston Churchill and Mary Beard. Rich in character, complex truths, and surprising anecdotes, the result is a unique exploration of both the art and craft of history-making that disturbs the dust on history and makes us think anew of our past and ourselves.