Welcome to my website. As a result of the efforts of the Digital Internet Group, based in London, Ontario, Canada, I am able to present each of my eighty-one books, and also tell something of how I came to write them, and what they contain.

I was born in London in October 1936. As my working life has been that of a historian, it is natural for me to look back over my life in historical terms.

My birth took place in the last few weeks of the reign of King Edward VIII. The King, who was also Emperor of India, was soon to abdicate, in order to marry an American divorcee, Mrs Simpson. They became Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

I was to tell the story of the part played by Winston Churchill in the abdication crisis in WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, THE PROPHET OF TRUTH, 1922-1939, which is volume five of the Churchill biography. Between 1968 and 1988 I wrote six volumes of the life of Churchill, about which I shall write later in these pages.

The Second World War broke out when I was two-and-a-half years old. Nine months later, as Britain faced a German invasion, I was evacuated to Canada. I have vivid memories of the transatlantic crossing, from Liverpool to Quebec, although I was not yet four years old.

As I write these words (on 25 August 2008), I have begun work on the completion of the Churchill Biography’s documentary companion volumes.

The last published volume, 1941: The Ever-Widening War (volume three of the Churchill War Papers) was published in 2000 by Heinemann in Britain and by Norton in the United States.

A new publisher, Hillsdale University Press, of Hillsdale, Michigan, will be publishing the remaining seven volumes. These are:

  1942 (including the fall of Tobruk and Singapore, Churchill’s first Moscow visit, and the Battle of Alamein)
1943 (including the Casablanca and Teheran conferences)
1944 (including the Normandy Landings, Churchill’s second Moscow visit, and Yalta)
1945 January to July 1945 (including Dresden, VE-Day and Potsdam)
1945 August to October 1951 (including the Iron Curtain speech)
1951-1955 (second premiership, including the Bermuda Conference)
1955-1965 (retirement years: writing, painting, reflecting, family, legacy)

Anyone who has any documents that they would like me to consider for inclusion can email me through this website.

Perhaps it was that experience that first made me curious about the war, which I was to write about in several of my books, most fully in THE SECOND WORLD WAR. This was published just before my fifty-third birthday, on the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

It was in Canada that I learned to read and write. Then, when I was seven-and-a-half years old, and while the war was still being fought, I was brought back to Britain on board the ocean liner Mauretania, then a troopship with mostly American troops on board. The Mauretania sailed from New York, and shortly before D-Day reached Liverpool. D-Day is to be the subject of a book which I am writing for the sixtieth anniversary of the Normandy landings. The book should be published in June 2004 - probably entitled D-DAY: THE NORMANDY LANDINGS.

I was in Britain, living just outside Oxford, when Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945. That day I joined a large crowd on the nearest hill where we built a huge bonfire and set alight a straw Hitler and a straw Mussolini.

On the fiftieth anniversary of that memorable day - I published THE DAY THE WAR ENDED. It is a book in which I wove recollections from more than a hundred letters which I had received from people who wrote to me - from all over the world - about their personal experiences at that time.

From 1945 to 1955 I was at a boarding school in London, Highgate School. Two history teachers there, Tommy Fox and Alan Palmer, encouraged me to learn history - and to write it. Several of the teachers had fought in the First World War, including the headmaster, Geoffrey Bell, who had won the Military Cross, and A.P. White, whose letters from the trenches were published only a few years ago.

From these masters came my interest in the First World War - an interest that was to lead me to make many visits to the battlefields of the Western Front, to war cemeteries, and to monuments and memorials throughout Britain and Europe, the Gallipoli peninsula, and the Middle East - including the British war cemeteries in Jerusalem and Gaza. A culmination of my interest was FIRST WORLD WAR, first published in 1994, on the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of the war. In it I tried to describe the war on all the battle fronts, as well as on land, sea and air, and behind the lines, through the prism of the combatants in every land.

I also designed and published FIRST WORLD WAR ATLAS, which has recently (2002) been reprinted. It looks not only at the battles, but at the diplomacy, and the economics, and the human aspects of the war, and at the peace treaties which followed it.

In 1955 I left school. After a mere two weeks footloose and fancy free in London - theatre-going
mostly, including the Old Vic to see Richard Burton and Claire Bloom in Hamlet - I began the compulsory two years National Military Service that all eighteen-year-olds had to do at that time.

In the army I learned to stand on parade and to march, to polish my boots and buckles, and to shoot, before going into the Army Intelligence Corps, where, given the Cold War of that time - the Soviet Union was my area of study. It was to lead me in due course to publish one of my twelve historical atlases, an atlas of Russian history in both Tsarist and Soviet times. This has been updated several times: the most recent edition, THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF RUSSIAN HISTORY, was published in 2002, and encompasses the decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I left the army in the spring of 1957 and travelled to the Balkans and Turkey, in both of which I taught English. That October I went to Oxford University, where I studied history at Magdalen College. My teachers included the wise and affable Karl Leyser, who taught me about the Dark Ages and the penetration of the Slavs into central Europe; John Stoye, an expert on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with his special knowledge of the decisive Siege of Vienna in 1683 (when both the croissant and the bagel are said to have originated!); the often ascerbic but always challenging A.J.P.Taylor, who was then writing his history of the origins of the Second World War; and Angus MacIntyre, young, keen and full of encouragement, who died far too young. Each of these three Magdalen dons encouraged me to pursue the historian's craft.

When Alan Taylor turned sixty I edited a volume of essays in his honour: A CENTURY OF CONFLICT 1850-1950: ESSAYS FOR A.J.P. TAYLOR. I did not write an essay in it myself, but my correspondence with those who did - including Lord Beaverbrook and Sir Isaiah Berlin - is a treasured part of my own archive.

In the summer of 1958 I visited India, travelling with a university friend, Neil Malcolm. We went by train and bus and hitchhiking overland through the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. One of my most recent books derives from that journey. It is a book of letters that I sent every week to Mrs B.K. Nehru, the mother of one of my university friends, Ashok Nehru, a cousin the Indian Prime Minister at that time, the formidable national leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

It was Mrs B.K. Nehru - who asked me to call her "Auntie Fori", who nursed me back to health after I was taken ill during that 1958 Indian visit. The book consisted of 140 letters that I wrote to her over a two-year period. It is called LETTERS TO AUNTIE FORI: THE 5,000-YEAR HISTORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THEIR FAITH. Auntie Fori had been born in Hungary, of Jewish parents, but had spent half a century in India, where I have visited her several times since that first encounter in 1958.

In the summer of 1959, while still at Oxford as an undergraduate, I went to Poland, which was then behind the Iron Curtain. This Polish visit - the first of many - had two major repercussions on my future research and writing:

First: I travelled to Poland with another undergraduate, Richard Gott, who became my first pupil after I graduated. He and I were to co-author my first book ("our" book), THE APPEASERS, about British policy before the Second World War, especially towards Czechoslovakia
and Poland. Our documented criticism of Neville Chamberlain and the policy of appeasement provoked considerable comment and even controversy when the book was first published. To our joint delight, it has recently (2001) been reprinted, with a new preface in which we show how the archival material subsequently released bore out our thesis, and sustained our criticisms of the "Men of Munich". THE APPEASERS has been translated into German, Polish and Romanian.

The second repercussion of my 1959 Polish visit was a growing interest in the Holocaust. This led to eight books in all, researched and written over the next forty-three years. The first of my Holocaust related books was an illustrated atlas for schools, HOLOCAUST: MAPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS. It was published in 1978, and is now in its fifth edition, with a sixth edition in prospect. One of the maps that I am often asked for permission to reproduce, by teachers and educators, shows just how many centuries the Jews had been living in the different countries of Europe before Hitler came to power. By 1933, Jews had been living in Germany for more than 1,600 years. The second book which I wrote on the Holocaust, published in 1979, was FINAL JOURNEY: THE FATE OF THE JEWS IN NAZI EUROPE. This was later translated into both Dutch and Hebrew. Its twenty-two chapters traced some of the journeys that Jews were forced to make between 1939 and 1945.

During the course of my researches I would leave England at least once a year on my travels, mostly to Europe. Becoming aware of the impact and range of the geography of wartime Europe led to my publishing an atlas of the Holocaust, now entitled THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF THE HOLOCAUST. I researched the many facts and details for this atlas not only in Europe itself - I made three further visits to Poland in 1968, 1980 and 1981 - but also during a sustained visit to Israel in 1979. The archive at the Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, provided an important source. Several of the scholars there, among them Professor Yehuda Bauer, Professor Israel Guttman and Dr Shmuel Krakowski, gave me invaluable guidance. No historian can
work in a vacuum - or alone in an ivory tower.

THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF THE HOLOCAUST is still in print. The most recent editions have a full index of all the places that appear on the 316 maps (the first publisher would not give me the number of pages needed for a comprehensive index). This atlas has been published in German and French.

Working in the archive at Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, and also in many archives in Britain and the United States, as well as in several European countries, provided me with the material for my third book on the Holocaust, the one which is the most comprehensive of my efforts in this area. It was published in England as THE HOLOCAUST: THE JEWISH TRAGEDY, and in the United States as THE HOLOCAUST: A HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF EUROPE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. It has just been published (in 2002) in both Bulgarian and Macedonian.

Of all my books, this one, THE HOLOCAUST, has generated by far the most correspondence and contact with individuals whom I would never otherwise have met, and who gave me material and ideas which I was able to incorporate into my subsequent Holocaust-related books, which I will mention later in this essay.

After graduating in 1960 with a BA in modern history, I went as a Research Scholar to St Antony's College, Oxford, where I studied British imperial history. The result of this work - six years later - was a book about Sir James Dunlop Smith, one of the Britons who governed India at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, whose two daughters gave me access to their father's diaries, letters and documents. I called the book SERVANT OF INDIA.

In 1961 I was elected a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford, which became my academic home and research base for almost twenty years. A year after my election - in tandem with my Oxford position - Churchill's son Randolph asked me to join his research team on the life of his father, which he had just begun to write. I began work the junior on a team of five. For the next six years I would live at Oxford, and teach and write at Merton College, but be prepared to travel across country to work in the Churchill archive whenever Randolph summoned me.

Randolph Churchill taught me many aspects of the historian's craft. He was a hard taskmaster but a generous one. Discoveries in archives located far from the Churchill papers were greeted by his enthusiasm. He also encouraged me to go on with my own independent research and writing. Two years after I began work for him, I published, BRITAIN AND GERMANY BETWEEN THE WARS, an edition of letters, diaries and documents covering every aspect of British foreign policy during the inter-war years. While still working for Randolph Churchill, I published THE EUROPEAN POWERS, 1900-1945. It was translated into Spanish, and, in 2002, reprinted in English.

While working for Randolph, making use of my time in Oxford, I also edited the letters, speeches and correspondence of a First World War pacifist, who had gone to prison rather than fight. His name was Clifford Allen. Later, as Lord Allen of Hurtwood, he was active in the appeasement debate. His wife Marjorie, whose own career had included much pioneering work for legislation to protect children, gave me full access to his voluminous correspondence. I called the book, after a phrase that Clifford Allen had used in one of his letters describing his lonely position in public life: PLOUGH MY OWN FURROW: THE STORY OF LORD ALLEN OF HURTWOOD.

A seminar that I gave at Oxford in 1965 led me to publish THE ROOTS OF APPEASEMENT. In it I included, as appendices, several previously unpublished documents. Also, to help my students, I had been drawing sketch maps of historical events, changing borders, and the conflicts of the European powers, as well as their imperial activities. This became my first published atlas, RECENT HISTORY ATLAS, 1860-1960.

In 1965 I took a four-month sabbatical from my Oxford and Churchill work, to be a visiting Professor to the University of South Carolina, at Columbia, South Carolina, the State capital. While I was there, Churchill died, and, with Randolph's approval, I wrote a short, single-volume life of Churchill for Oxford University Press. Randolph read my book in proof, an unnerving experience for me, to have a son read what I had written about his father. But he was full of encouragement. This book is called WINSTON CHURCHILL, and was my first book about Britain's war leader. It was published in the United States as well as in Britain.

I also edited a book showing Churchill both from his own words, and the words of his contemporaries. This book was for an American series called Great Lives Observed: my volume was entiled, simply, CHURCHILL. It was followed by a second Great Lives Observed volume which I greatly enjoyed compiling, about Britan's Prime Minister in the last two years of the First World War, LLOYD GEORGE. I would have edited a third volume in the series, on Mahatma Gandhi, but in the year that my LLOYD GEORGE was published - 1968 - Randolph died, and I was asked to continue his work. I did so, writing six of the eight volumes of the Churchill biography, entitled WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, and compiling a series of document volumes to accompany and supplement the main narrative.

A year before his death, Randolph Churchill had asked me to draft for him, as part of a book which he and his son wrote on the Six Day War of 1967, a 5,000-word essay on "The Jews from
Moses to Nasser". To prepare this for him, and to widen my own understanding, I drew several dozen maps of aspects of Jewish history. This stimulated me to prepare more maps, for myself, and for a lecture I gave at Oxford, "The Jews versus Geography".

Only my brief speaker's headings for the lecture have survived - I found them in one of my boxes while I was preparing this essay - but what did emerge from that lecture was my first book on a Jewish theme, now called THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF JEWISH HISTORY. Over the years I have regularly updated it. The sixth, updated edition, was published in 2002. It has been published in Russian, Chinese, Hungarian, Polish and Dutch.

I had been working for some years on developing my historical atlas method and presentaion. One of those who encouraged me in this work in its early days was Arnold Toynbee. In 1968 two new historical atlases finally saw the light of day: what are now THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF BRITISH HISTORY and THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF AMERICAN HISTORY. Regularly updated, as new history unfolds, their most recent new editions were published in both Britain and the United States in 2002.

Books for high school students have always been something I wanted to write. In 1969 I published a folder of text and documents and facsimiles and illustrations in the Jackdaw series, entitled WINSTON CHURCHILL, and three years later a second Jackdaw, THE COMING OF WAR. In 1971, between the two Jackdaws I published a short book for schools, SECOND WORLD WAR. I also worked with my daughter Natalie, during a visit to Israel, to draw the maps and take the photographs for a CHILDREN'S ILLUSTRATED BIBLE ATLAS.

Following Randolph Churchill's death, I was asked to take over his task and to complete the Churchill biography – both the main and the document volumes. The Churchill archive was brought to Oxford for my use, and housed in the deepest underground floor of the Bodleian Library. With that treasure trove as my base, I travelled to public and private archives throughout Britain. I also corresponded with many hundreds of Churchill's contemporaries, and came to know a good number of them as friends. Their recollections, and the archival material which they possessed, became an integral part of my Churchill work.

My own first volume after Randolph's death, and the third volume of the biography, was published in 1971: WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: THE CHALLENGE OF WAR, 1914-1916. It was followed a year later by a two-volume set of documents, known as Companion Volumes to the biography. They were entitled WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, VOLUME THREE, COMPANION VOLUME - Part One and Part Two.

These "companion volumes" of documents contained a wealth of personal and official correspondence, written by Churchill, and sent to him, as well as transcripts of the many secret meetings at which policy was worked out, including that of the ill-fated attack on the Dardanelles and the subsequent Gallipoli landings. I also published all his private letters from the trenches of the Western Front, where he served during the first five months of 1916: letters to his wife, to his mother, to his close friends, and to his former political colleagues, whom he was desperate to rejoin.

My next Churchill biography volume, Volume Four, was WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: WORLD IN TORMENT, 1917-1922. It was published in 1975, followed by a three-part documentary companion, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, VOLUME FOUR, COMPANION VOLUME - Parts One, Two and Three.

Volume Five,  WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: THE PROPHET OF TRUTH, 1923-1939, was published in 1976. It was followed by three separate document volumes. The first was THE EXCHEQUER YEARS, 1922-1929, the second, THE WILDERNESS YEARS, 1929-1935 and the third THE COMING OF WAR, 1936-1939. Astonishingly, each of these three document volumes can now fetch up to $1,000 on the second hand marketplace. I am hoping that they may be reprinted before too long, by the original British publishers, William Heinemann, in tandem with Hillsdale College, Michigan, which has an impressive Churchill component in its curriculum, and where, since 2002, I have been a Distinguished Fellow.

In 1983 I published Volume Six of the Churchill biography, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: FINEST HOUR, 1939-1941. This has three document volumes, which have been published as THE CHURCHILL WAR PAPERS. Each has its own title. The first is: AT THE ADMIRALTY, September 1939 - May 1940. the second is "NEVER SURRENDER", May - December 1940. The third is: THE EVER-WIDENING WAR, 1941.

Volume Seven of the Churchill biography: WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: ROAD TO VICTORY, was published in 1986.

Volume Eight of the Churchill biography, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: NEVER DESPAIR, 1945-1965, was published in 1988.

While teaching at Oxford and working for Randolph, I had published BRITAIN AND GERMANY BETWEEN THE WARS, an edition of documents with commentary. In it, I included some letters and documents from Sir Horace Rumbold, the British ambassador in Berlin when Hitler came to power. I was so struck by the vivid quality of Rumbold’s reports that I went to see his son's collection of family papers. The result was a full-length biography, SIR HORACE RUMBOLD, PORTRAIT OF A DIPLOMAT, published in 1973. It is one of the books of which I am most proud.

Later that year I was about to embark on the Middle East research for the fourth volume of the Churchill biography, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: WORLD IN TORMENT, 1917-1922, and was visiting Israel, when war broke out there: the Yom Kippur War, also known as the October War. I have never published my experiences of that time, although I did keep a detailed diary. One day, perhaps, I will publish it.

As soon as the October War ended, and I returned to Oxford, I drafted more than a hundred maps, which I published a year later. It is now called THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF THE ARAB-ISRAEL CONFLICT: ITS HISTORY IN MAPS. I update it every few years: it is still in print, the seventh, and most recent, edition, having been published in 2002.

While working in the archives on the Churchill biography, I came across many more photographs than I could use in the volumes themselves. I visited a number of photographic archives in London, and found that they were then in the process, inconceivable thirty years later, of weeding out and destroying tens of thousands of photographs, often glass-plate negatives. I determined to rescue as many of the Churchill images as I could. The result was my book CHURCHILL, A PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT. This was published in 1974, and reprinted twice, in 1990 and 1999.

Having completed six volumes of the full biography, and the document volumes spanning the years 1914 to 1939, I bought a new fountain pen and several bottles of ink and set about writing a single-volume biography of Churchill, CHURCHILL: A LIFE. This was the culmination of my Churchill work, and enabled me to focus on both Churchill the social reformer and Churchill the war leader.

Many people had asked me to tell the story of writing the Churchill biography. It has been a fascinating thirty-year journey. The result of these requests, from friends and strangers, was IN SEARCH OF CHURCHILL. My son David took the photographs for the final chapter, about Chartwell.

History and geography continued to be intertwined in my work. Approached by Jews who had fled from Arab lands in 1948, at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, who felt that their story was not widely enough known, in 1976 I published a small atlas, THE JEWS OF ARAB LANDS: THEIR HISTORY IN MAPS. The first edition was entirely maps, the second edition was illustrated. A similar approach that same year, on behalf of Jews who were being refused permission to leave the Soviet Union, led to another illustrated atlas, THE JEWS OF RUSSIA: THEIR HISTORY IN MAPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS. I incorporated the maps in both these atlases into all subsequent editions of THE ROUTLEDGE ATLAS OF JEWISH HISTORY.

After spending many months in Israel, teaching first at Tel Aviv University and then at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I researched two separate projects, one an atlas and the other a history. The atlas was entitled JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED HISTORY ATLAS. Published in 1977, I produced a new edition in 1993, bringing it up to date. The history was EXILE AND RETURN: THE EMERGENCE OF JEWISH STATEHOOD.

Jerusalem was to be the focus of two more of my books, one, which spanned the nineteenth century, was called JERUSALEM: REBIRTH OF A CITY. It was published in 1985. Eleven years later I published JERUSALEM IN THE TWENTETH CENTURY. Both books were illustrated, and contained – as do all my books – a number of maps specially drawn for them. Widening my horizons beyond Jerusalem – the disputed capital of Israel – in 1998 I published ISRAEL: A HISTORY. It is a sustained narrative of a long struggle and great achievements in the face of many odds, some self-inflicted. It is the only history that I have written about a country: a sort of geographic biography – with controversial politics and hard-fought wars as a recurring theme.

Work in a number of archives in Britain, the United States, Israel and Switzerland led me to publish AUSCHWITZ AND THE ALLIES in 1981. It examines the controversial topic of the Allied response to news of the Holocaust, and to the appeals to bomb the railway lines leading to the camps. It is arguably my most controversial book, and certainly my most hard-hitting. Twenty years after publication, it is still in print. It has been published in both German and Hebrew.

A visit to the Soviet Union, in order to make a public report on the struggle of Soviet Jews to leave the Soviet Union led to one of the books that most affected me personally, JEWS OF HOPE: THE PLIGHT OF SOVIET JEWRY TODAY. I felt that many of those I wrote about had become my friends, even during a short visit, and I was to visit many of them again before they were eventually allowed to leave.

While in the Soviet Union, I met many friends of the imprisoned Jewish activist, Anatoly Shcharansky. They, and his wife Avital, who was in Israel, encouraged me to write about him, in the hope of adding yet more ammunition to the long battle for his release. The result was SHARANSKY: HERO OF OUR TIME. With Churchill and Rumbold, it is one of three full-length biographies that I have attempted in my writing career. Digging out the facts was hard, but the result was both a rounded biography and a campaign document. That gave me particular pleasure.

I put my Churchill hat on again when asked to give the British Academy Thank Offering for Britain lectures. There were three of them, published together as a small volume, CHURCHILL’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. This was published in 1981. That same year I completed a study of the most difficult decade in Churchill’s life, WINSTON CHURCHILL: THE WILDERNESS YEARS. It went in tandem with a television series of the same name, starring Robert Hardy as Churchill and Sean Phillips as his wife Clementine.

One of Churchill’s friendships, with the literary agent Emery Reves, inspired me to edit the letters and messages they exchanged over a period of more than twenty years. The book, WINSTON CHURCHILL AND EMERY REVES: CORRESPONDENCE, was published in 1997, sixty years after the two men had first met.

Friendship plays a large part also in this author’s motivation. Encouraged by a neighbour, Sir Harry Solomon, I drew seventy-two maps for an ATLAS OF BRITISH CHARITIES. Among the maps was one showing Princess Diana’s charitable work.

Friendships have also led me, during the last few years, to write four more books on Holocaust themes. The first arose as a result of a request by a group of teenage survivors, men and women who call themselves ‘The Boys’, mostly Polish-born, who were brought to Britain immediately after the war. The book is called THE BOYS.

The second book had its origins in the request by twelve MA students at University College, London, whom I was teaching for the year, and who asked me to take them to the places that I had been teaching about. I was flattered to be asked, planned the journey, bought the train tickets, booked the hotels, and kept a diary of the journey. The diary was published as HOLOCAUST JOURNEY: TRAVELLING IN SEARCH OF THE PAST. I illustrated it with my own maps and photographs. It always gives me pleasure when strangers write to say that they have used the book on their own journeys to the cities and camps that we visited, including Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and Auschwitz.

The third book was the first of my books for which I prepared colour maps, and also colour illustrations. Called NEVER AGAIN: A HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST, it has been published in Italian, French, Dutch, German and Lithuanian. It is intended to serve as an introductory course on the Holocaust, with each two-page spread devoted to a single theme. Friendship with young people, many of them the children of my friends, who wanted to have a short introductory book on the Holocaust, led to my embarking on this task.

The fourth book on a Holocaust theme that I wrote in the past decade had been long in the making. I began collecting material for it in 1974, when by chance I was present at Oscar Schindler’s funeral in Jerusalem. The book, for which I then began collecting material, was published in Britain in October 2002 and in the United States in February 2003. It is called THE RIGHTEOUS: THE UNSUNG HEROS OF THE HOLOCAUST. It tells the story of the twenty thousand non-Jews, mostly devout Christians, who risked their lives to save Jews. Many of my Jewish friends and acquaintances and correspondents who were themselves saved by non-Jews, greatly encouraged me to undertake this book.

As a celebration of Jewish life and achievements, as well as recognition of the Jewish struggles, at the beginning of the Twentieth-First Century I published THE JEWISH CENTURY: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY. It has appeared in German, Dutch, French, Italian, Danish and Russian – the first book of mine to be published in Moscow.

As a culmination of forty years as a historian, I published a three-volume history of the Twentieth Century. I had begun work on it a decade before the century came to an end, and published THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, volume one (1900-1933) in 1997, followed by THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, volume two (1933-1951) in 1999, and the final volume, THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, volume three (1952-1999) in 1999. Two years later I worked to reduce the three volumes to a single volume, HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, which was published in hardback in 2001 and in paperback in 2002.

In May 2004, a year after the website came into being, my book D-Day was published, for the sixtieth anniversary of the Normandy Landings. A number of those who took part in the landings sent me their recollections. This book was followed by Righteous Gentiles: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust, which told the story of twenty thousand Christians who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Many of those who were saved sent me detailed accounts of their rescuers.

In 2005 my American publishers, Holt, USA, re-issued First World War and Second World War in an attractive uniform paperback edition. They also reprinted The Day the War Ended.

At the beginning of 2006, HarperCollins published my most recent book on a Holocaust theme, Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction, in which I was able to weave in recollections that had been sent to me by more than fifty of those who had witnessed Kristallnacht in their towns in Germany.

In my Churchill endeavours, three books have been published since the creation of the website. The first Churchill at War: His 'Finest Hour' in Photographs, 1940-1945. The second was Churchill's War Leadership (entitled in Canada 'Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite'). The third was Churchill and America. This last is a study of Churchill's sixty-year 'love affair' with the United States, in all its moods, setbacks and successes.

The summer of 2006 saw the publication, after my fifth visit to the Western Front in thirty-five years, of The Battle of the Somme: The Heroism and Horror of War. It was published simultaneously in Britain, the United States and Canada, on the ninetieth anniversary of that five-and-a-half month battle, which began on 1 July 1916. I had long wanted to tell the story of the Somme, which has been much recounted, but whose details are of endless fascination and sadness, a microcosm of the nature of armed conflict, and of the human dimension in war.

As in all my books, I will try in the new one to focus on individuals, whether those active on the high plateau of policymaking, or on the low ground (and sea and air) of combat and courage. My aim has always been to write history from the human perspective, never to neglect the person known as "the common man" - whether man or woman, or child, and to remember that when Winston Churchill was asked him why the Twentieth Century was called the century of the common man, he replied: 'It is called the century of the common man because in it the common man has suffered most.'

Back to Top