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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The Second World War

In the hands of master historian Martin Gilbert, the complex and compelling story of the Second World War comes to life. This narrative captures the perspectives of leading politicians and war commanders, journalists, civilians, and ordinary soldiers, offering gripping eyewitness accounts of heroism, defeat, suffering, and triumph.

This is one of the first historical studies of World War II that describes the Holocaust as an integral part of the war. It also covers maneuvers, strategies, and leaders operating in European, Asian, and Pacific theatres. In addition, this book brings in survivor testimonies of occupation, survival behind enemy lines, and the experience of minority groups such as the Roma in Europe, to offer a comprehensive account of the war’s impact on individual lives on both sides. This is a sweeping narrative of one of the most deadly wars in history, which took almost forty million lives.

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Winston S. Churchill: The Prophet of Truth, 1922–1939 (Volume V)

This fascinating volume opens with Churchill’s return to Conservatism and to the Cabinet in 1924, and, as the story unfolds, presents a vivid and intimate picture both of his public life and of his private world at Chartwell between the wars.
As Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924 to 1929, Churchill pursued a humane and constructive social policy, including the introduction of pensions for widows and orphans. The controversial return to the gold standard is examined here on the basis of new evidence; so too are Churchill’s efforts after the General Strike to bring peace to the coal industry. In 1927 Churchill planned and fought for a massive attack on unemployment.
In this volume Martin Gilbert strips away decades of accumulated myth and innuendo, showing Churchill’s true position on India, his precise role (and private thoughts) during the abdication of Edward VIII, his attitude toward Mussolini, and his profound fears for the future of European democracy. Even before Hitler came to power in Germany, Churchill saw in full the dangers of a Nazi victory. And despite the unpopularity of his views in official circles, for six years he persevered in his warnings.
This book reveals for the first time the extent to which senior civil servants, and even serving officers of high rank, came to Churchill with secret information, having despaired at the extent of official lethargy and obstruction. Within the Air Ministry, the Foreign Office, and the Intelligence Services, individuals felt drawn to go to Churchill with full disclosures of Britain’s defense weakness and kept him informed of day-to-day developments from 1934 until the outbreak of war. As war approached, people of all parties and in all walks of life recognized Churchill’s unique qualities and demanded his inclusion in the government, believing that he alone could give a divided nation guidance and inspiration.

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Books By
Martin Gilbert