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Alistair Horne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alistair Horne

Born(1925-11-09)9 November 1925
London, England
Died25 May 2017(2017-05-25) (aged 91)
Oxfordshire, England
OccupationJournalist, biographer, historian
Notable work
A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962
The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916
Spouse(s)Renira Hawkins
(m. 1953-??)
Sheelin Ryan
(m. 1987)

Sir Alistair Allan Horne CBE FRSL (9 November 1925 – 25 May 2017)[1] was a British journalist, biographer and historian of Europe, especially of 19th and 20th century France. He wrote more than 20 books on travel, history, and biography.

Early life, military service, and education

Horne was born on 9 November 1925.[2] He was the only son of Sir Allan Horne (died 1944)[3] and Auriol (née Hay-Drummond),[citation needed] niece of the 13th Earl of Kinnoull. He was educated at Eastacre, then Ludgrove School when it was at Cockfosters and described Ludgrove as a place of "humbug, snobbery and rampant, unchecked bullying" which he thought was intended to toughen the boys up.[4] He seems to have hated Stowe, which he escaped from to America during wartime.[5]

As a boy during World War II, Horne was sent to live in the United States. He attended Millbrook School, where he befriended William F. Buckley, Jr., who remained a lifelong friend.[6] Horne served in the RAF (1943–44) and later as an officer in the Coldstream Guards (1944–47). He graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge, as a Master of Arts (MA) and received the degree of LittD from the University of Cambridge (1993).[2]

Personal life

He married, first, in 1953, Renira Hawkins, the daughter of Admiral Sir Geoffrey Hawkins, and had three daughters. The marriage was dissolved, and in 1987 he married, secondly, Sheelin Lorraine Ryan, an artist and former wife of Simon Eccles, son of David Eccles, 1st Viscount Eccles.[1] He lived with his wife Sheelin at Turville, Buckinghamshire.[7]


Horne worked as a foreign correspondent for The Daily Telegraph from 1952 to 1955. He was the official biographer of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a work originally published (in two volumes) in 1988. Horne was an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a cricket enthusiast. The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 received the Hawthornden Prize in 1963.[7]

Horne's 1977 book A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 received the Wolfson Prize in 1978.[7] Following the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 came to be of much interest to American military officers, having been recommended to U.S. President George W. Bush by Kissinger. In October 2006 the book was republished and in January 2007, by phone from his home in England, Horne was invited to take part in an Iraq War discussion panel on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS. It was reported, in the 2 July 2007 edition of The Washington Post'', that Horne met with President Bush sometime in mid-2007 at the administration's request."[8] He described his visit in a Daily Telegraph article.[9]

In 2004, Horne was offered the authorship of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's official biography but declined due to the daunting amount of work involved and his age and opted instead to write a volume on one year in Kissinger's life (Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year, 2009).[10]

Selected works

  • Return to Power: A Report on the New Germany. New York: Praeger, 1956. OCLC 184441
  • The Land is Bright. 1958.
  • Canada and the Canadians. Toronto: Macmillan, 1961.
  • The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1962. Reissued in 1963. OCLC 397845
  • The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune, 1870-1. London: Macmillan, 1965. OCLC 401286 Revised edition: Penguin Books 2007, ISBN 978-0-141-03063-0.
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940. London, Macmillan, 1969.
  • Death of a Generation Neuve Chapelle to Verdun and the Somme 1970
  • The Terrible Year: The Paris Commune, 1871. London, Macmillan, 1971.
  • Small Earthquake in Chile: A Visit to Allende's South America. London: Macmillan, 1972. (Expanded edition, 1990.)
  • A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962. London: Macmillan, 1977. ISBN 0670619647
  • Napoleon, Master of Europe 1805–1807. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979. ISBN 0297776789
  • The French Army and Politics, 1870–1970. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1984.
  • Harold Macmillan. New York: Viking Press, 1988. [Official biography]
    • Volume I: 1894-1956
    • Volume II: 1957-1986
  • A Bundle from Britain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.
  • Montgomery, David (co-author). Monty: The Lonely Leader, 1944–1945. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
  • How Far from Austerlitz? Napoleon, 1805–1815. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN 0312155484
  • Horne, A. (ed.).Telling Lives: From W.B. Yeats to Bruce Chatwin. London: Papermac, 2000.
  • Seven Ages of Paris. London: Macmillan, 2002. American ed., ISBN 0679454810
  • The Age of Napoleon. New York: Modern Library, 2004. ISBN 1588363643
  • Friend or Foe: An Anglo-Saxon History of France. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004. ISBN 0297848941
  • La Belle France: A Short History. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1400041406
  • The French Revolution. Carlton Books, 2009.
  • Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year. Simon & Schuster, June 2009. ISBN 9780743272834
  • But What Do You Actually Do?: A Literary Vagabondage. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011. ISBN 029784895X
  • Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century. Harper, 2015. ISBN 9780062397805

Honours and awards


  1. ^ a b "Sir Alistair Horne, historian, journalist and former spy – obituary". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Alistair Horne". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  3. ^ Francine du Plessix Gray (11 September 1994). "The Only Childhood I Ever Had". Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  4. ^ Horne, Alistair (2012). A bundle from Britain. Macmillan. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-4472-3177-6.
  5. ^ he wrote in A Bundle from Britain (1993) that it was full of "bullying and buggery." This was a social phenomenon often associated with old-fashioned English public schools, see Christopher Hibbert, No Ordinary Place: Radley College and the Public School System 1847–1997 (1997), John Murray, London. ISBN 0-7195-5176-5.
  6. ^ "Sir Alistair Horne: 2016 Founder's Literature Award - Pritzker Military Museum & Library - Chicago". Pritzker Military Museum & Library.
  7. ^ a b c "Alistair Horne". Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  8. ^ "A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Comment: editorials, opinion and columns". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Alistair Horne". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
This page was last edited on 31 October 2020, at 00:17
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