Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh

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Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh




Home—London, England.


Journalist for British newspapers, including London Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, and Observer. Former attorney.


Kings on the Catwalk: The Louis Vuitton and Moët-Hennessy Affair, Chapmans (London, England), 1992.

Enigma: The Battle for the Code, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (London, England), 2000, J. Wiley (New York, NY), 2000.

Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.


British journalist Hugh Sebag-Montefiore is the author of a number of critically acclaimed works of nonfiction. In Kings on the Catwalk: The Louis Vuitton and Moët-Hennessy Affair, he examines the often contentious merger of two of France's wealthiest and most glamorous companies during the late 1980s. ‘As Montefiore's lucid and admirably organised narrative shows, the ‘affair’ was financially conceived and driven from beginning to end,’ noted Management Today contributor Simon Caulkin. ‘The merger was a deal, suggested by the banks and supported by the two companies for differing reasons: Moët-Hennessy (ironically) to secure itself from the threat of takeover, Louis Vuitton to further grandiose acquisition aims."

Enigma: The Battle for the Code recounts one of the great counterintelligence operations of World War II. The Enigma, a lightweight but sophisticated text encryption machine, was used extensively by the German navy to coordinate U-boat attacks; the ability of Allied forces to decrypt messages ‘staved off unsustainable losses of merchant shipping and thereby led to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic,’ noted William B. Hayler in the Naval War College Review. ‘Sebag-Montefiore's meticulously researched book—it uses not only British and American, but German, French and Polish documentary sources—is an excellent introduction to the history of British decoding of German naval Enigma traffic, and explains both the extent and limits of the operational intelligence thus gained,’ observed Eunan O'Halpin in the Sunday Business Post.

In Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man, Sebag-Montefiore chronicles the dramatic evacuation and rescue by sea of more than 300,000 British and Allied troops from the port of Dunkirk, France, and the surrounding beaches in May and June 1940. Encircled by the German Army, ‘some British units were ordered to stand and fight with sacrificial bravery to allow their compatriots to escape,’ remarked a contributor in the London Telegraph.Dunkirk is their story. Sebag-Montefiore tells it with gusto, a remarkable attention to detail and an inexhaustible appetite for tracking down the evidence. The result can sometimes read like one damn thing after another, but the sense of confusion, anxiety, uncertainty and intrepid courage which characterised this disastrous campaign is captured more successfully than in any other existing account."



Booklist, February 1, 2001, Jay Freeman, review of Enigma: The Battle for the Code, p. 1038; November 15, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man, p. 21.

Library Journal, November 1, 2006, Richard Fraser, review of Dunkirk, p. 88.

Management Today, February, 1993, Simon Caulkin, review of Kings on the Catwalk: The Louis Vuitton and Moët-Hennessy Affair, p. 88.

Naval War College Review, Autumn, 2001, William B. Hayler, review of Enigma, p. 183.

New York Times Book Review, January 28, 2007, Christopher Hitchens, ‘A Heroic Disaster,’ review of Dunkirk.

Observer (London, England), July 16, 2006, Campbell Stevenson, ‘Band of Brothers,’ review of Dunkirk.

Publishers Weekly, September 25, 2006, review of Dunkirk, p. 59.

Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland), June 12, 2006, Jim Gilchrist, ‘The Forgotten Heroes of Dunkirk,’ review of Dunkirk.

Sunday Business Post (Dublin, Ireland), December 30, 2001, Eunan O'Halpin, review of Enigma.

Telegraph (London, England), May 28, 2006, ‘A Very British Defeat,’ review of Dunkirk.

Washington Post, April 9, 2001, David Kahn, ‘The Code War,’ review of Enigma; December 27, 2006, Colin Jones, ‘The Heat of Battle,’ review of Dunkirk.