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

The First World War

They called it the War to End All Wars, but it was only the beginning of the global conflicts that rocked the 20th Century. The First World War redrew national boundaries, eliminated monarchies, and left millions of soldiers and civilians dead, and its impact has continued to shape the Western political and social landscape since.

In this sweeping narrative, best-selling historian Martin Gilbert provides a view of the conflict that’s both global and personal, drawing on eyewitness accounts, contemporary reporting, and first-hand documentation. It offers an immediate, compelling voice to familiar historical events, bringing new facets of the conflict to life and personalizing the tale with gripping survivor testimonies.

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Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945–1965 (Volume VIII)

The final volume of the official biography spans Churchill’s life from the defeat of Germany in 1945 to his death nearly twenty years later. It sees him first at the pinnacle of his power, leader of a victorious Britain. In July 1945 at Potsdam, Churchill, Stalin, and Truman aimed to shape postwar Europe. But while still grappling with world issues Churchill returned to Britain for the general election results and was thrown out of office.
For six years Churchill worked to restore the fortunes of Britain’s Conservative Party, while at the same time warning the world of Communist ambitions, urging the reconciliation of France and Germany, pioneering the concept of a united Europe, and seeking to maintain the closest possible links between Britain and the United States. His aim throughout was to achieve not confrontation with the Soviet Union but conciliation based firmly upon Western strength and unity.
In October 1951 Churchill became prime minister for the second time. The Great Powers were at peace but under the shadow of a fearful new weapon, the hydrogen bomb. Hoping, after the election of Eisenhower in 1952 and the death of Stalin in 1953, for a fresh start in East–West relations, Churchill worked for a new summit conference; but in April 1955 ill health and pressure from colleagues forced him to resign.
In retirement Churchill traveled widely; took up painting again; completed the four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples; and watched as world conflicts continued, still convinced that they could be resolved by statesmanship. "Never despair" remained his watchword, and his faith, until the end. That end came slowly; for those nearest to him it was a sad decline. Yet almost to his ninetieth year he was able to follow events with hope and faith in the ability of man to survive his own folly.

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Winston S. Churchill: Road to Victory, 1941–1945 (Volume VII)

This volume takes up the story of "Churchill’s War" with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and carries it on to the triumph of V–E Day, May 8, 1945, the end of the war in Europe.
Within a week of Pearl Harbor, Hitler and Mussolini had declared war on the United States. Thus Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin were now leaders of the great alliance that held the assurance of ultimate victory. But in 1942, the first year of the new alliance, the war went badly on every front, and Churchill faced serious criticism at home.
In this volume, Martin Gilbert charts Churchill’s tortuous course through the storms of Anglo-American and Anglo-Soviet suspicion and rivalry and between the clashing priorities and ambitions of other forces embattled against the common enemy: between General de Gaulle and his compatriots in France and the French Empire; between Tito and other Yugoslav leaders; between the Greek Communists and monarchists; between the Polish government exiled in London and the Soviet-controlled "Lublin" Poles.
Amid all these cares and dangers Churchill had to find the course of prudence, of British national interest, and, above all, of the earliest possible victory over Nazism. In doing so he was guided by the most secret sources of British Intelligence: the daily interception of the messages of the German High Command. These pages reveal, as never before, the links between this secret information and the resulting moves and successes achieved by the Allies.

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Books By
Martin Gilbert