Ronald Florence

Ronald Florence is a novelist and historian, author of twelve books. Educated at Berkeley and Harvard, he taught at colleges and universities, ran a foundation, raced sailboats, and raised Cotswold sheep before turning to full-time writing. He lives in Providence, RI and travels in Europe and the Middle East to research his books.

Quick Links

What happens when the dreams of a father are not the dreams of his children?

“News of the world outside seemed unreal in Ornevka, as fantastic as Reuven Werth’s story of Baron Rothschild and the Mohilev rabbi. In the world outside, if you believed the tales, tsars and Kaisers and kings rattled swords, built battleships, and committed whole nations to war or peace as easily as a cattle merchant agreed to sell a heifer. Revolutionaries were ready to topple regimes, turn workers into bosses, and elevate the lowliest to the ranks of the mighty, all the while making love to women who weren’t their wives. In the lascivious stories of the drummers, actresses made love with kings, actors made love with other actors, and women revolutionaries would make love with anyone. The politics of the world outside—treaties, wars, revolutions—was a mad whirl, seemingly out of control. New inventions like electric lights, the telegraph, and steamships were coming so fast the world would be unrecognizable in a few years.”

— from Family Werth


No short summary of the travels and travails of the Werth family can do justice to the tense and suspenseful arc of narrative … I felt compelled to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next … succeeds in telling a compelling and important story.

— Rabbi Jim Rosenberg, The Jewish Voice


Available in paperback, Kindle,
iBook, and Nook editions.

Selected Works

History
... eminently readable history ... both an adventure yarn and a profound tragedy made up of hope, suspicion, fear, and confusion; all this against the background of the deportation trains leaving daily for Auschwitz.
—István Deák, The New Republic
Florence chronicles the birth of the modern Middle East by narrating the intersecting lives of two remarkable men.… skillfully blends geopolitical history and cloak-and-dagger tales ...
The New Yorker
These days, when old, outdated anti-Semitic lies are being used in too many circles against the Jewish people, this book is important to all those who feel compelled to denounce them.
—Elie Wiesel
… a perfect job of science writing for the general public. Over to you, Pulitzer Prize Committee …
—Arthur C. Clarke
Novels
Florence's inventiveness sounds a magical voice that makes the pages of Jewish history breathe and sing.

Jewish Voice & Herald

Only when you read two or three new books a week for five or six years do you realize how truly rare a novel like this is.…
—Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times