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Andrew Roberts
Background information
Date of birth 13 January 1963 (1963-01-13) (age 47)
Birth location London, England
Official Website

Andrew Roberts (born on 13 January 1963) is a British historian and journalist. In an interview with the Financial Times, Roberts described himself as 'extremely right wing'. On other occasions, he has described himself as on the right wing of the Conservative Party.



Andrew Roberts was born 13 January 1963 in London, England, the son of Simon (a business executive) from Cobham, Surrey, and Katie Roberts. Simon Roberts inherited Job's Dairy milk business and owned the United Kingdom contingent of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Roberts was raised in the Church of England (Anglican). He attended Cranleigh School. At Cranleigh's senior school he was expelled for drinking, climbing on a roof and cling-filming the lavatories. He went on to a Cambridge crammer to prepare for his Oxbridge exam. His 'teenage rebellion' phase now ended and he buckled down to studying.[1] He took a first class honours BA degree in Modern History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he is an honorary senior scholar. Roberts began his career in corporate finance as an investment banker and private company director with the London merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., where he worked from 1985 to 1988.

Roberts is divorced from his first wife with whom he had two children, Henry and Cassia, who live in Edinburgh. Roberts is married to Susan Gilchrist, senior partner of the corporate communications firm Brunswick Group and a Governor of the South Bank Centre. He lives in Belgravia.

Historian and writer

Andrew Roberts has written a number of books. The first was the biography of Neville Chamberlain's and Winston Churchill's foreign secretary, the Earl of Halifax, entitled The Holy Fox, and published in 1991. Roberts provided a revisionist account of Lord Halifax, a one-time viceroy to India and the Foreign Secretary in Prime Minister Chamberlain's government. Long charged with appeasement, along with his prime minister, Halifax in fact began to move his government away from that policy vis-à-vis Hitler's Germany, following the 1938 Munich crisis. This book was followed by Eminent Churchillians in 1994. It is a collection of essays about friends and enemies of Winston Churchill. A large part of the book is an attack on Lord Mountbatten of Burma and other prominent members of the ruling class. In 1999 he published Salisbury: Victorian Titan, the authorised biography of the Victorian prime minister the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, which won the Wolfson History Prize and the James Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction. In September 2001 Napoleon and Wellington, an investigation into the relationship between the two great generals, was published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, and was the subject of the lead review in all but one of Britain's national newspapers. January 2003 saw the publication of Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership, which coincided with Roberts's four-part BBC2 history series. In the book, which addresses the leadership techniques of Hitler and Churchill, he delivered a rebuttal to many of the assertions made by Clive Ponting and Christopher Hitchens concerning Churchill. In 2003, he became a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2004, he edited What Might Have Been, a collection of twelve "What If?" essays written by distinguished historians, including Antonia Fraser, Norman Stone, Amanda Foreman, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Conrad Black, and Anne Somerset. In 2005, Roberts published Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble, which was published in America as Waterloo: The Battle for Modern Europe.

His A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, a sequel to the four volume work of Winston Churchill, was published in September 2006. Masters and Commanders describes how four titanic figures shaped the grand strategy of the West during the Second World War. It was published in November, 2008. The Art of War is a two-volume chronological survey of the greatest military commanders in history. It was compiled by a team of historians, including Robin Lane Fox, Tom Holland, John Julius Norwich, Jonathan Sumption, and Félipe Fernàndez-Armesto, working under the general editorship of Roberts.

Journalism and lecturing

The second strand of Roberts published output are articles in leading national newspapers, most notably, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and their Sunday editions and also The Daily Express and the Sunday Times.

In addition Roberts Since 1990, has addressed hundreds of diverse institutional and academic audiences in many countries, including a lecture to George Bush at the White House.

During the build up to the Iraq war he supported the invasion, arguing on Newsnight that a failure to go to war would be tantamount to appeasement.

Roberts has appeared on US television during royal funerals and weddings. He first came to prominence in the USA due to acting as an expert on the funeral of Dianna, Princess of Wales in 1997 and he was later in a similar role during the CNN broadcast of the death of the Queen Mother and on the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. [Source: Andrew Roberts website] In Britain in 2003, he presented The Secrets of Leadership, a four-part history series on BBC2 about the secrets of leadership which looked at the different leadership styles of Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King.


Roberts' work A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900 was praised by George Bush but was panned by some critics for a number of historical, geographical, and spelling errors.[2] The Economist described the book as "less a history than a giant political pamphlet larded with its author's prejudices",[2] and pointed out that Roberts had the Red Army marching "eastward" over Europe (rather than westward, and that this geographical inversion was done two other times in the book), and he misspelled names such as "Srebenica” and “Götterdämmerung.” He also confused historical people of the same name (such as Luigi Barzini).

In an April 2007 article in The New Republic Johann Hari accused Roberts of supporting massacres against civilians, including the 1919 Amritsar massacre, which Roberts called "necessary", and British concentration camps built during the Boer War (1899-1902), using quotes from Roberts's books on Salisbury and A History of the English Speaking People. Hari also pointed out that Roberts had addressed the Springbok Club, an organisation of expatriate South Africans that flies the pre-1994 South African flag and calls for "the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent".[3] The US historian Mike Davis says of Roberts' claims that the British camps were built to protect the Boers, and they only died of diseases brought about by their own incompetence: "This is tantamount to Holocaust-denial".[4] Frederic Smoller in defence of Roberts argued that the views of Davis represent a 'staggering revisionism' because, he claimed, the Salisbury government did not plan a genocide.

Roberts claimed he did not realise the Springbok Club was racist when he took on the speaking engagement. Hari responded with lengthy quotes from Roberts' work which he claimed contradicted this. [See 'Correspondence', The New Republic, Feb 12th 2006.] Roberts later responded by saying Hari, who is gay, must have "a crush" on him.[5]

Roberts has also been heavily criticised for his view on Ireland. Professor Stephen Howe notes that Roberts "passionately dislikes Ireland and the Irish, with their supposed betrayal of Britain in both world wars."[6] In a review for the Spectator, Anthony Daniels notes "his hostility to all things Irish."[7]


  • The Holy Fox : A Biography Of Lord Halifax, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991 ISBN 0-297-81133-9.
  • Eminent Churchillians, London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994 ISBN 0-297-81247-5.
  • The Aachen Memorandum, London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995 ISBN 0-297-81619-5.
  • Salisbury: Victorian Titan (1999). ISBN 0-297-81713-2.
  • The House Of Windsor, Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 2000, ISBN 0-520-22803-0.
  • Napoleon and Wellington : The Battle Of Waterloo—And The Great Commanders Who Fought It, New York : Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-297-64607-9.
  • Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership (2003). ISBN 0-297-84330-3.
  • What Might Have Been (2004). ISBN 0-297-84877-1.
  • Waterloo : June 18, 1815 : The Battle For Modern Europe (2005), New York : HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-008866-4.
  • A History of the English Speaking Peoples since 1900 (2006), ISBN 0297850768
  • Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West (2008), Allen Lane, ISBN 978-0-713-99969-3 (UK edition); Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945 (to appear 2009), Harper, ISBN 978-0061228575 (US edition).
  • The Art of War: Great Commanders of the Ancient and Medieval World (2009) Quercus Publishing Plc.
  • The Art of War: Great Commanders of the Modern World Since 1600 (2009) Quercus Publishing Plc.
  • The Storm of War: a New History of the Second World War (2009), Allen Lane, ISBN 0713999705


  • Virtual History (1997) One Essay
  • What If? (1999) One Essay
  • The Kings and Queens of England (2000) One Chapter
  • The Railway King: A Biography of George Hudson (2001) Introduction
  • Historian’s Holiday (2001) Introduction
  • What If ? Volume 2 (2001) One Essay
  • Protestant Island (2001) Introduction
  • Spirit of England (2001) Introduction
  • The Secret History of P.W.E. (2002) Introduction
  • Rich Dust (2002) Introduction
  • A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (2002) Introduction
  • Spirit of England (2002) Preface
  • Historian's Holiday (2002) Preface
  • What Ifs of American History? (2003) One Essay
  • The Multicultural Experiment (2003) One Chapter
  • British Military Greats (2004) One Chapter
  • Lives for Sale (2004) One Chapter
  • Hitler's Death: Russia's Last Great Secret from the Files of the KGB (2005) Foreword
  • Liberty and Livelihood (2005) One Chapter
  • The Eagle’s Last Triumph (2006) Introduction
  • The Eagle's Last Triumph : Napoleon's Victory at Ligny, June 1815 (2006) Foreword
  • Postcards from the Russian Revolution (2008) Introduction
  • A Week at Waterloo (2008) Introduction
  • The Future of National Identity (2008) One Chapter
  • Postcards from the Trenches (2008) Introduction
  • Postcards from Utopia: The Art of Political Propaganda (2009) Introduction
  • Postcards of Lost Royals (2009) Introduction

Notes and references

External links


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