Antony Beevor

Last updated

Sir Antony Beevor

Antony Beevor 01.JPG
Antony Beevor in Gothenburg in 2015
BornAntony James Beevor
(1946-12-14) 14 December 1946 (age 72)
Kensington, London, England
OccupationAuthor, historian
Education Abberley Hall School
Winchester College
Alma mater Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Subject Modern history
Notable awards Samuel Johnson Prize
Spouse Artemis Cooper
Relatives John Julius Norwich, father-in-law
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg  British Army
Years of service1966–1970
Rank Lieutenant
Service number 483855
Unit 11th Hussars

Sir Antony James Beevor, FRSL (born 14 December 1946) is an English military historian. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and the 20th century in general.

Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships.


Early life

Born in Kensington, [1] Beevor was educated at two independent schools; Abberley Hall School in Worcestershire, followed by Winchester College in Hampshire. He then went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he studied under the military historian John Keegan, before receiving a commission in the 11th Hussars on 28 July 1967. [2] Beevor served in England and Germany and was promoted to lieutenant on 28 January 1969 before resigning his commission on 5 August 1970. [3] [4]

Kensington District within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London

Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of central London.

An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. It is usually not dependent upon national or local government to finance its financial endowment. It is typically governed by a board of governors which is elected independently of government, and has a system of governance that ensures its independent operation.

Abberley Hall School is a coeducational preparatory day and boarding school with about 300 pupils. It is located between Worcester and Tenbury, near the village of Abberley, Worcestershire, England.


Beevor has been a visiting professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London and at the University of Kent. [5]

Birkbeck, University of London public research university located in Bloomsbury, London, England

Birkbeck, University of London, is a public research university located in Bloomsbury London, England, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Established in 1823 as the London Mechanics' Institute by its founder, Sir George Birkbeck, and its supporters, Jeremy Bentham, J. C. Hobhouse and Henry Brougham, Birkbeck has been one of the few institutions to specialise in evening higher education.

University of Kent public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom

The University of Kent is a semi-collegiate public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1965 and is recognised as a Beloff's plate glass university. The University was granted its Royal Charter on 4 January 1965 and the following year Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent was formally installed as the first Chancellor.

His best-known works, the best-selling Stalingrad and Berlin - The Downfall 1945 , recount the World War II battles between the Soviet Union and Germany. They have been praised for their vivid, compelling style, their treatment of the ordinary lives of combatants and civilians and the use of newly disclosed documents from Soviet archives. [6] [7] [8]

<i>Stalingrad</i> (book) book by Antony Beevor

Stalingrad is a narrative history written by Antony Beevor of the battle fought in and around the city of Stalingrad during World War II, as well as the events leading up to it. It was first published by Viking Press in 1998.

<i>Berlin: The Downfall 1945</i> book by Antony Beevor

Berlin: The Downfall 1945 is a narrative history by Antony Beevor of the Battle of Berlin during World War II. It was published by Viking Press in 2002, then later by Penguin Books in 2003. The book achieved both critical and commercial success. It has been a number-one best seller in seven countries apart from Britain, and in the top five in another nine countries. Together with Beevor's Stalingrad, first published in 1998, they have sold nearly three million copies.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

His The Spanish Civil War (1982) was later re-written as The Battle for Spain (2006), keeping the structure and some content from the earlier work, but using the updated narrative style of his Stalingrad book and also adding characters and new archival research from German and Russian sources. [9]

Beevor's book The Second World War (2012) is notable for its focus on the conditions and grief faced by women and civilians and for its coverage of the war in East Asia, which has been called "masterful". [10] [11] Beevor's expertise has been the subject of some commentary; his publications have been praised as revitalizing interest in World War II topics [12] and have allowed readers to reevaluate events such as D-Day from a new perspective. [13] He has also appeared as an expert in television documentaries related to World War II. [14] [15]

Overall, his works have been translated into over 30 languages with over 6 million copies sold. [16]

In August 2015, Russia's Yekaterinburg region considered the banning of Beevor's books, accusing him of Nazi sympathies, citing his lack of Russian sources when writing about Russia, and claiming he had promoted false stereotypes introduced by Nazi Germany during World War II. [17] [18] [19] Beevor responded by calling the banning "a government trying to impose its own version of history", comparing it to other "attempts to dictate a truth", such as denial of the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.

In January 2018, Beevor's book about the Battle of Stalingrad was banned in Ukraine. Beevor told RFE/RL: "I must say, this sounds absolutely astonishing. There's certainly nothing inherently anti-Ukrainian in the book at all." [20]

Personal life

Beevor is descended from a long line of writers, being a son of Kinta Beevor (born Janet Carinthia Waterfield, [21] 22 December 1911 – 29 August 1995), who was the daughter of Lina Waterfield, an author and foreign correspondent for The Observer and a descendant of Lucie Duff-Gordon (author of a travelogue on Egypt). Kinta Beevor wrote A Tuscan Childhood. Antony Beevor is married to biographer Artemis Cooper; they have two children, Nella and Adam. [22]


Beevor was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2017 New Year Honours for "services in support of Armed Forces Professional Development". [23]

He is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres , [24] a member of Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana and a commander of the Order of the Crown. [5]

Beevor was elected an honorary Fellow of King's College London in July 2016. [25] He was also awarded an Honorary D.Litt. from the University of Bath in 2010, [24] [26] and an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent, awarded in 2004. [5] [27]

His book Crete: The Battle and the Resistance won the Runciman Prize, administered by the Anglo-Hellenic League for stimulating interest in Greek history and culture. [28]

Beevor has been recognized with the 2014 Pritzker Military Museum & Library's Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Tim O'Brien, the 2013 recipient, made the announcement on behalf of the selection committee. [22] [29] [30] The award carried a purse of $US 100,000. [31]

In July 2016, he was awarded the Medlicott Medal for services to history by the UK based Historical Association. [32]

Beevor also sits on the Council of the Society of Authors. [33]


Published works

He has written thirteen books, novels and non-fiction.

Violent Brink1975 Novel First published by John Murray, London
The Faustian Pact1983 Novel Jonathan Cape, London
For Reasons of State1980 Novel Jonathan Cape, London
The Spanish Civil War1982 Non-fiction First published Orbis, London ISBN   9780141001487
The Enchantment of Christina von Retzen1989 Novel Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London
Inside the British Army1990 Non-fiction Chatto and Windus, London
Crete: The Battle and the Resistance1991 Non-fiction John Murray, London ISBN   9780140167870
Paris After the Liberation, 1944–19491994 Non-fiction Co-authored with his wife, Artemis Cooper. Revised edition 2004
Stalingrad 1998 Non-fiction Viking Press, London, later by Penguin, LondonTranslated into 26 other languages. ISBN   9780670870950
Berlin: The Downfall 1945 2002 Non-fiction Penguin, LondonPublished as The Fall of Berlin 1945 in the US ISBN   9780670030415
The Mystery of Olga Chekhova2004 Non-fiction (See Olga Chekhova) ISBN   9780670033409
The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936–392006 Non-fiction ISBN   9780143037651 Spanish edition published in 2005. ISBN   9780143037651
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy2009 Non-fiction Penguin Books, London ISBN   9780670021192
The Second World War 2012 Non-fiction W&N ISBN   9780316023740
Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble2015 Non-fiction Viking ISBN   9780670918645
Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 19442018 Non-fiction Viking ISBN   9780241326763

Antony Beevor has edited books, including:

He has also contributed to several other books, including:

Related Research Articles

Vasily Zaitsev (sniper) Soviet sniper

Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev was a Soviet sniper during World War II. Prior to 10 November 1942, he had killed 32 Axis soldiers with a standard-issue rifle, however between 10 November 1942 and 17 December 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad he killed 225 enemy soldiers, including 11 snipers.

Hiwi (volunteer)

The term Hiwi is a German abbreviation of the word Hilfswilliger, meaning "voluntary assistant", or more literally, "willing helper". During World War II, the term Hiwis gained broad popularity in reference to auxiliary forces recruited from the indigenous populations in the areas of Eastern Europe first annexed by the Soviet Union and then occupied by Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler reluctantly agreed to allow recruitment of Soviet citizens in the Rear Areas during Operation Barbarossa. In a short period of time, many of them were moved to combat units.

2nd Army (Wehrmacht) 1939-1945 army-level field formation of the German Army

The 2nd Army was a World War II field army.

Demyansk Pocket military operation from 8 February – 20 May 1942

The Demyansk Pocket was the name given to the pocket of German troops encircled by the Red Army around Demyansk, south of Leningrad, during World War II on the Eastern Front. The pocket existed mainly from 8 February to 21 April 1942. A much smaller force was surrounded in the Kholm Pocket at the town of Kholm, about 100 km (62 mi) to the southwest. Both resulted from the German retreat following their defeat during the Battle of Moscow.

David M. Glantz is an American military historian known for his books on the Red Army during World War II, and the chief editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.

The Wolfson History Prizes are literary awards given annually in the United Kingdom to promote and encourage standards of excellence in the writing of history for the general public. Prizes are given annually for two or three exceptional works published during the year, with an occasional oeuvre prize. They are awarded and administered by the Wolfson Foundation, with winning books being chosen by a panel of judges composed of eminent historians.

Nikolay Voronov Soviet military commander, Chief marshal of the artillery

Nikolay Nikolayevich Voronov was a Soviet military leader, chief marshal of the artillery (1944), and Hero of the Soviet Union. He was commander of artillery forces of the Red Army from 1941 until 1950. Voronov commanded the Soviet artillery during the Battle of Stalingrad and was the Stavka representative to various fronts during the Siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Kursk. He also fought in the Russian Civil War, the Polish-Soviet War and the Battle of Khalkin Gol, as well as serving as an advisor to the Spanish Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War.

Bruno Bräuer German general

Bruno Bräuer was a general in the paratroop forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. He served as a commander on Crete and then commanded the 9th Paratroop Division. After the war, Bräuer was convicted of war crimes and executed, along with Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller, on the anniversary of the German invasion of Crete.

Catalonia Offensive 1938–1939 campaign in the Spanish Civil War

The Catalonia Offensive was part of the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalist Army started the offensive on December 23, 1938, and rapidly conquered Republican-held Catalonia with Barcelona. Barcelona was captured on January 26, 1939. The Republican government headed for the French border. Thousands of people fleeing the Nationalists also crossed the frontier in the following month, to be placed in internment camps. Franco closed the border with France by February 10, 1939.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library Chicago Library and museum

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is a non-profit museum and a research library for the study of military history on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. The institution was founded in 2013, and its specialist collections include material relating to Winston Churchill and war-related sheet music.

Carlo D'Este is an American military historian and biographer, author of several books, especially on World War II. He was a decorated U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. In 2011, he was awarded the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing

Rape during the occupation of Germany

As Allied troops entered and occupied German territory during the later stages of World War II, mass rapes of women took place both in connection with combat operations and during the subsequent occupation. Most Western scholars agree that the majority of the rapes were committed by Soviet servicemen, while some Russian historians maintain that these crimes were not widespread. The wartime rapes had been surrounded by decades of silence. According to Antony Beevor, whose books were banned in 2015 from some Russian schools and colleges, NKVD files have revealed that the leadership knew what was happening, but did little to stop it. Some Russian historians disagree, claiming that the Soviet leadership took some action.

Pritzker Literature Award lifetime achievement literary award given annually by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, for military writing

The Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing is a literary award given annually by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. First awarded in 2007, it is a lifetime achievement award for military writing, sponsored by the Tawani Foundation of Chicago. The prize is valued at $100,000, making it one of the richest literary prizes in the world.

Segovia Offensive

The Segovia Offensive was a Republican diversionary offensive which took place between 31 May and 6 June 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The main goal of the offensive was to occupy Segovia and divert Nationalist forces from their advance on Bilbao. After a brief initial advance the offensive failed due to Nationalist air superiority.

Fernando Barrón y Ortiz (1892–1952). Spanish military officer. One of the five commanders of the natives troops in Africa, he supported the military coup of July 1936 which started the Spanish Civil War. Later, he was one of the commanders of the Spanish Army of Africa in its advance towards Madrid. In November 1936 led the nationalist attack against the Madrid’s suburb of Carabanchel. In December 1936 he led one of General Varela’s mobile columns in the Second battle of the Corunna Road. In January 1937 he led a brigade in the Battle of Jarama. In May 1937, he took part in the nationalist counteroffensive during the Segovia Offensive. In June 1937, he led the 13th division in the Battle of Brunete in August in the Battle of Belchite and in March 1938 in the Battle of Caspe. During the Battle of the Ebro he led the Nationalist defense of the town of Gandesa. After the war, he was a minister of the Francoist dictatorship.

<i>The Second World War</i> (book) book by Antony Beevor

The Second World War is a narrative history of World War II by British historian Antony Beevor. The book starts with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, and covers the entire Second World War ending with the final surrender of Axis forces.

Tania Chernova was a Russian-American who fought as a sniper for the Soviet forces during the Battle of Stalingrad. Historian Antony Beevor has questioned the veracity of her claims, due to his research indicating a lack of female Soviet snipers at the battle. It is worth noting that William Craig had confirmation of Chernova’s actions from Soviet Sniper Vasily Zaitsev, who trained her and had a relationship with her. A character, played by Rachel Weisz, based on Chernova, appeared in the film Enemy at the Gates.

Leonty Gurtyev Soviet military officer

Leonty Nikolayevich Gurtyev was a Soviet military officer, known for his participation in the Second World War's Eastern front and most notably in the battle of Stalingrad.


  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. "No. 44435". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 October 1967. p. 11533.
  3. "No. 44774". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 January 1969. p. 995.
  4. "No. 45168". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 August 1970. p. 8855.
  5. 1 2 3 "Biography". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  6. "Entombed in their own bunkers". Telegraph. London. 25 April 1998. Archived from the original on 27 March 2007.
  7. Judd, Alan (28 April 2002). "Every sort of assault: review of Berlin: the Downfall, 1945 by Antony Beevor". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 30 March 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  8. Bernstein, Richard (26 September 1998). "An Avalanche of Death That Redirected a War". The New York Times. New York City, United States. p. E-8. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  9. Brendon, Piers (June 24, 2006). "Review: The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor". The Guardian . ISSN   0261-3077.
  10. "The Second World War". Kirkus Review. Kirkus. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  11. Toye, Richard (7 September 2012). "Many Wars in One". The New York Times . The New York Times Company. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  12. Temple, Peter (21 July 2012). "Beevor unleashes a blitzkrieg". Sydney Morning Herald . Fairfax Media. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  13. "In praise of ... Antony Beevor". The Guardian . Guardian News and Media Ltd. 31 May 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  14. Summers, Chris. "Red Army rapists exposed". BBC News . BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  15. "When TV Goes to War". BBC Four . BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  16. Farndale, Nigel (19 October 2014). "Antony Beevor: 'I deserved to fail history. I was bolshie...'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  17. Ignacio Villarreal. "Russia orders libraries to ditch 'Nazi' books by British historians".
  18. Walker, Shaun. 2015. Russian Region Bans British Historians' Books from Schools. The Guardian (5 August).
  19. Spiro, Zachary. 2015. Russia Bans Books on Nazi Defeat by British Historians. The Times (6 August).
  20. "Historian Beevor 'Astonished' At Ukraine Ban On Best-Selling 'Stalingrad'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 17 January 2018.
  21. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  22. 1 2 "Antony Beevor: 2014 Pritzker Literature Award Winner | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago". Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  23. "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N2.
  24. 1 2 Honorary Graduates. University of Bath , 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  25. "New fellows of King's College London". 1 August 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  26. Honorary Graduates 1989 to present. University of Bath, 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  27. Antony Beevor Archived 20 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine . Penguin Books Ltd., 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  28. Antony Beevor (24 April 2014). "Antony Beevor - Penguin Books USA". Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  29. "Pritzker Military Museum & Library Announces 2014 Literature Award Winner - BWWBooksWorld". Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  30. "British military historian wins $100,000 prize". Boston Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  31. Carpenter, Caroline (26 June 2014). "Beevor wins $100,000 Pritzker Military Prize". The Bookseller . Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  32. James, Trevor (2016). The Historian. The Historical Association. p. 2. ISSN   0265-1076.
  33. "Council".
  34. Clark, Nick (4 November 2014). "Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction: Helen Macdonald wins with 'H is for Hawk'". The Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2014.