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Douglas Johnson (1925–2005), a British historian, was born in Edinburgh in 1925. He attended the Royal Grammar School, Lancaster, and then Worcester College, Oxford, on a history scholarship. His academic career was as a historian of France; he held professorships, first, at the University of Birmingham, then at University College, London.

His books included France and the Dreyfus Affair (1966), France (for the Thames & Hudson 'Nations and Peoples' series, 1969), An Idea of Europe (with Richard Hoggart, 1987) and The Age of Illusion: art and politics in France, 1918-1940 (with his wife Madeleine Johnson, 1987). From 1983 he was General Editor of the Fontana History of Modern France.

Unashamedly Francophile, Johnson devoted his academic career to improving relations between France and Britain. He became an advisor to Margaret Thatcher on all matters concerning France, although his own political position was always something of a mystery.

A collection of essays in his honour was compiled by Martyn Cornick and Ceri Crossley under the title Problems in French History and published by Palgrave in 2000.


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