Alex von Tunzelmann

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Alex von Tunzelmann (born 1977) is a British historian, screenwriter and author. Tunzelmann has worked primarily as a researcher.

Historian person who studies and writes about the past

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.


Early life and education

Tunzelmann has stated that her surname is of German ancestry originating in Saxony in Germany and that she has family connections from Estonia since 1600 and New Zealand since 1850. [1]

Saxony State in Germany

Saxony, officially the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig.

Tunzelmann was educated at Brighton and Hove High School, [2] an independent school for girls in Brighton, and at University College at the University of Oxford. She read history and edited both Cherwell and Isis .

Brighton Seaside resort on the south coast of England

Brighton is a seaside resort in the county of East Sussex. It is a constituent part of the city of Brighton and Hove, created in 2001 from the formerly separate towns of Brighton and Hove. Brighton is located on the south coast of England, positioned 47 miles (76 km) south of London.

University College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford in England

University College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It has a claim to being the oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1249 by William of Durham.

University of Oxford university in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.


Tunzelmann has contributed to The Political Animal by Jeremy Paxman, The Truth About Markets by John Kay, Does Education Matter? by Alison Wolf, and Not on the Label by Felicity Lawrence. She has been recognized as a Financial Times Young Business Writer of the Year. She collaborated with Jeremy Paxman on his book, On Royalty .

Jeremy Paxman English journalist, author and broadcaster

Jeremy Dickson Paxman is a British broadcaster, journalist, author, and television presenter. Born in Leeds, Paxman was educated at Malvern College and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he edited the undergraduate newspaper Varsity. At Cambridge, he was a member of a Labour Party club and described himself as a socialist, although in later life described himself as a one-nation conservative. He joined the BBC in 1972, initially at BBC Radio Brighton, although relocated to London in 1977. In coming years, he worked on Tonight and Panorama before becoming a newsreader for the BBC Six O'Clock News and later a presenter on Breakfast Time.

John Kay (economist) British economist

John Anderson Kay, is a British economist. He was the first dean of Oxford’s Said Business School and has held chairs at London Business School, the University of Oxford, and the London School of Economics. He has been a fellow of St John's College, Oxford, since 1970.

<i>Financial Times</i> London-based international daily newspaper

The Financial Times (FT) is an English-language international daily newspaper owned by Japanese company Nikkei, Inc., headquartered in London, with a special emphasis on business and economic news.

Recently, Tunzelmann has begun writing a weekly column for The Guardian entitled "Reel history", in which she discusses and rates popular films for their historical accuracy. She has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveller, BBC Lonely Planet Magazine , and The Daily Beast . [3] She published Blood and Sand about the Suez Crisis of 1956 in 2016. [4]

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S.

<i>The Washington Post</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., with a particular emphasis on national politics and the federal government. It has the largest circulation in the Washington metropolitan area. Its slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" began appearing on its masthead in 2017. Daily broadsheet editions are printed for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

<i>Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire</i> book by Alex von Tunzelmann

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007) is a history book written by Alex von Tunzelmann. The book covers the end of the British Empire and the Partition of India that resulted in millions of deaths. "An extra ordinary saga of romance, history, religion, and political intrigue." It was set to be adapted into a film by Joe Wright with Hugh Grant and Cate Blanchett rumoured to be playing the Mountbattens; however, it was later reported that production on the film had been put on hold after budgetary concerns and opposition from the Indian government, reportedly concerned about an alleged affair between Jawaharlal Nehru and the wife of the last viceroy of the British Indian Empire, Lady Edwina Mountbatten.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Cold War Geopolitical tension after World War II between the Eastern and Western Bloc

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. The historiography of the conflict began between 1946 and 1947. The Cold War began to de-escalate after the Revolutions of 1989. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 was the end of the Cold War. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

She has appeared on the literary discussion radio programme Litbits on Resonance FM, discussing literature and hair. She appears regularly on Sky News and in BBC current affair programmes.


Tunzelmann wrote the script for the movie Churchill , a film that received mixed reviews, with some publications citing numerous historical inaccuracies. [6] She also wrote episodes of the RAI period drama Medici , focusing on the infamous family.

A film based on her book Indian Summer is currently in development with Working Title Films.

Personal life

She lives in London.

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  1. von Tunzelmann, Alex [@alexvtunzelmann] (10 April 2014). "Narendra Modi certainly inspires all the most charming & gracious supporters" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 March 2019 via Twitter.
  2. "Cheating student flees to Germany". Oxford Mail . Gannett Company. 10 September 1998. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  3. "Alex von Tunzelmann Writer". United Agents . Limited Liability Partnership . Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  4. "Blood & Sand". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  5. Random House of Canada (1 September 2011). Red Heat by Alex von Tunzelmann (YouTube). Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  6. Roberts, Andrew (1 May 2017). "Fake History in "Churchill," starring Brian Cox". The Churchill Project. Hillsdale College . Retrieved 29 March 2019.