The Estate of Martin Gilbert

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Sir Martin Gilbert was one of Britain's most distinguished historians. Born in London in 1936, he went to Highgate School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read British Imperial History and Soviet Studies. In 1962 he was elected a Fellow at Merton College, Oxford, and in the same year he began work as a research assistant to Randolph Churchill on the first two volumes of the official biography of Sir Winston Churchill. Following Randolph Churchill's death in 1968, Martin Gilbert was himself appointed Official Biographer, and wrote the other eight volumes of the biography, the last of which, NEVER DESPAIR, was published in 1988. Since then he has published a one-volume biography, CHURCHILL, A LIFE.

Gilbert is the author of a large number of other books, including FIRST WORLD WAR; SECOND WORLD WAR; THE HOLOCAUST; IN SEARCH OF CHURCHILL; THE DAY THE WAR ENDED; THE BOYS; TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY; the magisterial three-volume HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY; A HISTORY OF ISRAEL; DEAREST AUNTIE FORI; and D-DAY. He has published a series of twelve historical atlases, and has also lectured widely in Britain, Europe and the United States. In addition to his work as an historian, Martin Gilbert has also acted as an advisor on Middle Eastern affairs to several British Governments. He was knighted in 1995.

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes

THE JEWS OF BRITAIN

2013

UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

2006 is a key date for British Jews, since in 1656 Oliver Cromwell allowed Jews to practise their religion freely in England for the first time. Martin Gilbert's THE JEWS OF BRITAIN takes this opportunity to celebrate Jewish life and the contributions Jews have made to British life, particularly in the past 350 years. Without being triumphalist, the book will emphasise the positive and constructive nature of Jewish life in Britain, particularly since the 19th century.
THE JEWS OF BRITAIN opens with an introductory chapter on early Jewish medieval life, until the expulsion of 1290. This expulsion was not total, however. As Gilbert points out, Elizabeth I's physician was a Portuguese Jew, and Shakespeare was well aware of Jews - witness Shylock. So, indeed, 300 years later, was Dickens with Fagin. But it was the 19th century that saw Jews emancipated into the British way of life. Disraeli became Prime Minister; Lord Macaulay championed Jewish rights. Then Britain opened its doors to mass Jewish immigration from the Russian pogroms.

This book will also look at individuals like 'the Jew Jacob', who to this day has a celebratory gargoyle at the entrance of an Oxford college because it was created when Jacob sold two of his houses for the residential use of students.

In THE JEWS OF BRITAIN, Martin Gilbert shows just how important Jews have been to 20th century Britain and across the world. He does not shy away from anti-semitism, and considers why it continues today.

CHURCHILL: THE POWER OF WORDS

2012

UK: Bantam Press US: Da Capo Press

Throughout his six decades in the public eye, Winston Churchill understood and wielded the power of words. In his speeches, books and newspaper and magazine articles, he expressed his feelings and laid out his vision for the future. His wartime writings and speeches in particular have fascinated generation after generation with their powerful narrative style and thoughtful reflection.

In this book, Martin Gilbert has skilfully selected 200 extracts from Churchill's entire oeuvre of books, articles and speeches that reflect his life story, career and philosophy. They range from intimate memories of his childhood and schooldays to his contributions to more than 50 years of debates on social policy and on war, and his efforts after 1945 to see the world a better place. In them we see how he used words for different purposes: to argue for moral and political causes, to advocate courses of action in the social, national and international spheres, and to tell the story of his own life, struggles, setbacks and achievements.

As Churchill's official biographer, Martin Gilbert is uniquely qualified to select from Churchill's own inimitable words not only those that describe the main adventures of his life and the crises of his career, but also those passages that express the essence of Churchill's thoughts and personality. Gilbert's informed and subtle choice of extracts, together with his illuminating introductory and explanatory text linking them together, create a fascinating and compelling biographical narrative of Churchill's life as recounted in the great man's own words. They provide an invaluable insight into Churchill's character and how he made his mark on Britain and the world stage.

CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS

2008

UK: Simon & Schuster; US: Henry Holt & Co; Canada: McClelland & Stewart; Czech: BB Art; Hebrew: Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir; Russian: Ge

For more than half a century, the course of Winston Churchill’s life was intertwined with Jewish issues. As a young Member of Parliament, he had many Jews among his constituents, and as a Cabinet Minister in the 1920s, he was responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. In his most famous role as a war leader during the Second World War, he was confronted by the horrific tyranny of Nazi Germany; and finally, as peacetime Prime Minister from 1951 to 1956, he was involved in the early days of the State of Israel. Throughout his career, Churchill was sympathetically aware of Jewish concerns.
Although such a sympathetic stance was often unpopular, Churchill rejected what he called ‘the anti-Semitic lines of prejudice’, and strove to be a friend to the Jews in their times of need. In his new book, Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer, explores Churchill’s involvement with Jewish people in Britain and worldwide.

The story offers a heady mix of age-old anti-Semitic prejudice, Jewish hopes and fears and Zionist aspirations, alongside British promises, Arab rebellion and Jewish terrorism. It examines the Arab-Jewish conflict, the Palestine problem and the emergence of the State of Israel. Through all of this, the book details Churchill’s efforts, during fifty years of peace and war, to weave his way through these minefields of yesterday – and of today.

Martin Gilbert is one of Britain’s most distinguished historians and the author of over 70 books including, most recently, the critically acclaimed THE SOMME: THE HEROISM AND HORROR OF WAR and CHURCHILL AND AMERICA.

D-DAY

2008

UK, US, Canada: John Wiley (Translation: John Wiley)

"The Allied landings in 1944 had all the prospects for disaster. Churchill thought he would be woken up to be told of massive casualties. Eisenhower prepared a sombre broadcast announcing that the enterprise had failed.
The spectre of failure was always present. After a failed landing the Nazi regime would have regained the ascendant. New, terrifying bombs and rockets were ready to be launched. Long-distance submarines were in the final stage of development. The last million Jews of Europe were listed for deportation and death.

Failure at Normandy could have given Hitler the chance of continuing to rule western Europe, particularly if the United States, bloodied and defeated in Normandy, had decided - after two and a half years of focusing on Europe - to focus all its energies to the ever-growing demands of the Pacific, leaving Europe to its own devices. Had that happened, I doubt if I would have been alive to write this book, or free to express my opinions without fear of arrest."

SOMME: THE HEROISM AND HORROR OF WAR

2007

UK: John Murray; US: Holt; Spanish: Ariel

SOMME: THE HEROISM AND HORROR OF WAR will be a short, graphic account of one of the most destructive battles in history, to be published in June 2006 to mark its 90th anniversary. During a period of 138 days, between 1st July and 15th November 1916, more than 310,000 soldiers from three great armies were killed on a narrow battlefield fifteen miles long and six miles deep.
This book will address these questions: Why did this battle take place? Who planned it? What did the planners hope to gain from it? What criticisms were there of it at the time? What were the experiences of the soldiers on the battlefield? Why were so many soldiers killed? Why did the battle continue so long? What lessons were drawn at the time, and how were they acted upon? What can be found on the Somme today?

SOMME: THE HEROISM AND HORROR OF WAR will incorporate much of the poetry of the war, poems such as Harvard graduate Alan Seeger’s ‘I have a rendezvous with death’, written shortly before he died. It will contain 24 pages of photographs and integrated maps.

KRISTALLNACHT

2007

World rights: HarperCollins

One of our most eminent historians investigates the buildup to and aftermath of Kristallnacht, a crucial turning-point not only for the German Jewish population suddenly identified as a group to be destroyed, but also in terms of the international response it inspired and its larger implications.
In KRISTALLNACHT, Martin Gilbert seamlessly combines a moving account of the suffering of the victims of the Nazi regime with a sophisticated analysis of the gradual process which made the horrors of the Third Reich possible. Broadening his canvas, Gilbert also powerfully depicts how the rest of the world failed Europe's increasingly desperate Jewish population: in the aftermath to Kristallnacht almost every country was asked to help; most would not do so, (though 10,000 German Jewish children were transported to Britain).

This international indifference had direct implications for future German policy, while the events of Kristallnacht went on to radically influence the attitudes towards Nazism of governments and individuals outside Germany.

This is the third book to be published in HarperCollins' illustrious "Making History" series.

CHURCHILL AND AMERICA

2006

US: Free Press; UK: Simon & Schuster; Czech: BB Art

Tony Blair may now be perceived as the most pro-American Prime Minister since the war, but his desire to keep close to Washington is as nothing compared to Winston Churchill's love for the Land of the Free. Born to an American mother, Churchill spent his whole life in thrall to the power and potential of the United States, with his affection and respect reaching its apogee during his crucial bilaterals with President Roosevelt at the height of the Second World War. Tracing the great man's relationship with America from birth to death, and assessing its legacy with his successors in Downing Street, Sir Martin Gilbert now presents the first full account of what the country meant to Churchill, what he learned from it, and what he taught its leaders and people. From his first visit in 1895, when he was bowled over by American hospitality and vigour (but appalled by their 'abominable' paper currency), Churchill felt a kinship with a nation then for the first time flexing its muscles on an international stage. He urged ever closer ties through two world wars and fought throughout his life the innate anti-Americanism never far from the surface in Europe. Revealing and entertaining in equal measure, Sir Martin Gilbert's new history reveals for the first time the true extent of a passion whose effects are still felt today.

THE RIGHTEOUS

2004

UK: Transworld; US: Holt; Bulgarian: Ciela; French: Calmann-Levy; Italian: Cittanuova; Portuguese (Portugal): Bertrand Livreiros

From the acclaimed author of THE BOYS and HOLOCAUST JOURNEY comes another powerful contribution to the literature of the Holocaust. THE RIGHTEOUS is the story of those courageous non-Jews who, throughout Germany and in every Nazi-occupied country of the time, helped Jews avoid starvation and the death-camps, often at great peril to their own lives.

LETTERS TO AUNTIE FORI

2003

UK: Weidenfeld; US: Schocken; Bulgarian: Animar; Chinese (simplified): Shanghai Joint Pub.Co; German: Fest; Italian: Carocci; Po

For more than 40 years, Martin Gilbert has cherished his close friendship with BK and Fori Nehru, an eminent couple in Indian public life. At her 90th birthday in Delhi, Fori made an extraordinary revelation to her old friend. She told him she wasn’t an Indian but a Hungarian Jew who had fled from London in the 1930s to marry her husband – and she asked Martin Gilbert if he could recommend a good history of the Jews. His answer was this book: a short but illuminating epistolary history by one of the world’s most distinguished Jewish historians, telling his dear friend about her people, their turbulent history from the Old Testatment to the Holocaust, their religion, culture and traditions.

THE EUROPEAN POWERS 1900-1945

2002

UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Martin Gilbert looks at the events of the years 1900-1945, years in which the central dramas of the last century were played out, and illustrates the follies that led civilized nations into violence and barbarism.

AUSCHWITZ AND THE ALLIES

2001

UK: Random House

When Hitler announced that the result of the war in Europe would be ‘the complete annihilation of the Jews’, he did so in 1942, not only in public, but before an enormous crowd in Berlin. The Allies heard, but, astonishingly, they did not listen.
In 1944, Allied reconnaissance pilots, searching out industrial targets in the area, repeatedly photographed Auschwitz. The pictures, apparently overlooked by the Allies, were routinely filed in the government archives and not examined until 1979.

Firsthand reports on the horrors of the death camps came to the West by 1944 in the person of two escaped Auschwitz prisoners. Their testimonies, and those of subsequent escapees, were either ignored or dismissed.

Despite the fact that, the same year, Churchill himself ordered feasibility studies for air strikes on Auschwitz, the RAF not only did nothing, but eventually passed the buck to the Americans, who also did nothing.