Giles Milton was born in 1966. He was educated at Latymer Upper School and the University of Bristol, where he read English. He is the internationally best-selling author of nine works of narrative non-fiction including Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, Samurai William, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Paradise Lost, Wolfram, Russian Roulette, Fascinating Footnotes from History. He is also the author of three novels,The Perfect Corpse, According to Arnold and Edward Trencom's Nose. His most recent book is Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die (Henry Holt and Co., 2019).
In the preface to the American edition of Fascinating Footnotes he has written: 'Much of my working life is spent in the archives, delving through letters and personal papers. The huge collection housed in Britain’s National Archives is incompletely catalogued (the National Archives in Washington DC is somewhat better) and you can never be entirely sure what you will find in any given box of documents. Days can pass without unearthing anything of interest: I liken it to those metal-detecting treasure-hunters of North Carolina who scour the Outer Banks in the hope of turning up a Jacobean shilling or signet ring. Persistence often pays rich dividends and this book - an idiosyncratic collection of unknown historical chapters - is the result of my own metaphorical metal detecting. Amidst the flotsam and jetsam, I’ve found (I hope) some glittering gems.'
Milton's works of narrative history rely on personal testimonies, diaries, journals and letters to tell the story of key moments in history, recounted through the eyes of those who were there.
A Cornish slave boy held captive in Morocco; a Jacobean adventurer in Japan; a young German artist conscripted into Hitler's war machine - Giles Milton's books focus on the stories of ordinary people who found themselves attempting to survive in extreme situations.