According to Goethe, Sicily is the key to everything. But those of us who are not fortunate enough to live there may need a key to understanding the island itself. “No non-Sicilian…will ever be able to penetrate the island’s mysteries altogether,” writes John Julius Norwich in his history of the island. But, lucky for us, his new book Sicily, An Island at the Crossroads of History brings us closer to the mysteries themselves. Norwich, the "dean of popular historians," delivers a page-turning account of Sicily, highlighting the surprising role the island has played in world history.

With humor and personality, he ushers readers from the Classical period (and Sicily's importance as a stepping stone between the Latin world and the Greek) through the lamentable rise of the Mafia and Sicily's importance during WWII. Norwich has entertained myriad travelers with his successful books on Byzantium, Venice and other ancient cities. If his latest masterful history doesn’t unlock all of Sicily’s secrets, it will, in the very least, inspire its reader to travel there.