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 Roots of Appeasement

World War II and its attendant horrors arguably began in the British policy of appeasement of the Nazi rise to power between the First and Second World Wars.
In this compelling telling, Martin Gilbert walks the reader through several decades of behavior that, in retrospect, is hard to accept. Gilbert’s incisive focus on primary sources uncovers the real reasons for the appeasement policy, from the search for a just peace to attempts to avoid another war at all costs—illuminating the historical underpinnings of a fatally flawed policy, and its tragic consequences for the Jewish people.
The book also contains a chronology of appeasement policy as well as five specially drawn maps and five appendices—including a transcript of British statesman and politician David Lloyd George's conversation with Hitler at Berchtesgaden in 1936.

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Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment, 1916–1922 (Volume IV)

Covering the years 1917 to 1922, Martin Gilbert’s fascinating account carefully traces Churchill’s wide-ranging activities and shows how, by his persuasive oratory, administrative skill, and masterful contributions to Cabinet discussions, Churchill regained, only a few years after the disaster of the Dardanelles, a leading position in British political life.
There are many dramatic and controversial episodes: the German breakthrough on the Western Front in March 1918, the anti-Bolshevik intervention in 1919, negotiating the Irish Treaty, consolidating the Jewish National Home in Palestine, and the Chanak crisis with Turkey. In all these, and many other events, Churchill’s leading role is explained and illuminated in Martin Gilbert’s precise, masterful style.
The Churchill who emerges from these pages is a complex, gifted, energetic, troubled man who made a forceful impact on his contemporaries; a man whose remarkable skills were admired by his colleagues, but who often angered—even maddened—them by what he said and did.
In a moving final chapter, covering a period when Churchill was without a seat in Parliament for the first time since 1900, Martin Gilbert brilliantly draws together the many strands of a time in Churchill’s life when his political triumphs were overshadowed by personal sorrows, by his increasingly somber reflections on the backward march of nations and society, and by his stark forecasts of dangers to come.

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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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Books By
Martin Gilbert