Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015) was a leading British historian and the author of more than eighty books. Specializing in 20th century history, he was the official biographer of Winston Churchill and wrote a best-selling eight-volume biography of the war leader’s life.


Born in London in 1936, Martin Gilbert was evacuated to Canada with his family at the beginning of World War II as part of the British government’s efforts to protect children from the brutal bombings of the Luftwaffe. He was made a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1962. He is the author of several definitive historical works examining the Holocaust, the First and Second World Wars, and the history of the 20th century.


In 1990, Gilbert was designated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was awarded a Knighthood in 1995. Oxford University awarded him a Doctorate in 1999. Gilbert was a sought-after speaker on Churchill, Jewish history, and the history of the 20th century, and traveled frequently to lecture at colleges, universities, and organizations around the world.

Featured Books By Author

Holocaust Journey

In 1996, prominent Holocaust historian Sir Martin Gilbert embarked on a fourteen-day journey into the past with a group of his MA students from University College, London. Their destination? Places where the terrible events of the Holocaust had left their mark in Europe.
From the railway lines near Auschwitz to the site of Oskar Schindler's heroic efforts in Krakow, Poland, Holocaust Journey features intimate personal meditations from one of our greatest modern historians, and is supported by wartime documents, letters, and diaries as well as over 50 photographs and maps by the author, all of which help interweave Gilbert’s trip with his students with the surrounding history of the towns, camps, and other locations visited. The result is a narrative of the Holocaust that ties the past to the present with poignancy and power.

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Winston S. Churchill: The Challenge of War, 1914–1916 (Volume III)

This third volume of the official biography of Sir Winston Churchill contains a full account of his initiatives and achievements as wartime First Lord of the Admiralty between August 1914 and May 1915. These include his efforts to prolong the siege of Antwerp, his support for the use of air power, and his part in the early development of the tank. It shows the forcefulness with which he argued for an offensive naval policy, first against Germany, then against Turkey.
"What about the Dardanelles?" was the cry Churchill heard often between the two world wars. It epitomized the distrust in which he was held by both politicians and the public as a result of the naval setback at the Dardanelles in March 1915 and the eventual failure of the Gallipoli landings launched the following month—although Gallipoli was the ministerial responsibility of the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, and the ultimate responsibility of the Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith.
Martin Gilbert examines the political crisis of May 1915, during which the Conservative Party forced Asquith to form a coalition government. The Conservatives insisted that Churchill leave the center of war policymaking for a position of increasing political isolation. In the next seven months, while the Gallipoli campaign was being fought, Churchill served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with no authority over military or naval policy.
Resigning from the Cabinet in November 1915, Churchill was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding an infantry battalion in the trenches of the Western Front. In May 1916, he returned from the trenches, hoping to reenter political life, but his repeated attempts to regain his once-substantial influence were unsuccessful. For the final year of Asquith’s premiership, Churchill held no political office, and was frustrated by his lack of power.

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Auschwitz and the Allies

"An unforgettable contribution to the history of the last war." –Jewish Chronicle
Why did they wait so long? Among the myriad questions of what the Allies could have done differently in World War II, understanding why it took them so long to respond to the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps—specifically Auschwitz—remains vital today.
In Auschwitz and the Allies, Martin Gilbert presents a comprehensive look into the series of decisions that helped shape this particular course of the war, and the fate of millions of people, through his eminent blend of exhaustive devotion to the facts and accessible, graceful writing.
Featuring 20 maps prepared specifically for this history and 34 photographs, along with firsthand accounts by escaped Auschwitz prisoners, Gilbert reconstructs the span of time between Allied awareness and definitive action in the face of overwhelming evidence of Nazi atrocities.

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Books By
Martin Gilbert