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Born in York, England, in 1966, Kershaw attended University College, Oxford where he studied politics, philosophy and economics. He taught history before working as a journalist for several British newspapers, including The Guardian, The Independent and The Sunday Times.
Kershaw's journalism has appeared in many leading magazines and newspapers since 1990, varying from investigative pieces and reportage to in-depth interviews with subjects ranging from Frank Zappa, Alger Hiss and Gary Kasparov to the boxer Max Schmeling and dozens of WWII veterans.
While writing a 2002 biography, Blood and Champagne, about Robert Capa, the celebrated war photographer, Kershaw came across the story of Bedford, Virginia and its extraordinary sacrifice on D-Day, 6 June 1944, on Dog Green sector of Omaha beach - the resulting book, The Bedford Boys, 2003, became a New York Times best-seller. His next book, about the Battle of the Bulge, The Longest Winter, 2004, focused in particular on WWII's most decorated platoon, an I&R unit commanded by 20-year-old Lyle Bouck Jr. of the 99th Infantry Division. It was followed by other popular titles: The Few, 2006, the untold story of eight American pilots who fought illegally in the Battle of Britain; Escape from the Deep, 2008, the harrowing tale of the only successful escape from a submerged American submarine, the USS Tang, without surface assistance in late October 1944; and The Envoy, 2010, an account of Raoul Wallenberg's rescue efforts in Hungary during the Holocaust, based on extensive interviews with survivors saved by Wallenberg.
Kershaw has also worked as a screenwriter and in television, penning an award-winning 2004 documentary for Arte on Bobby Kennedy. Several of his books have been optioned by Hollywood, including The Few which was selected as the Military Book Club's first-ever book of the year in 2006. Kershaw has appeared as a narrator in several documentaries, including the "Battle Of The Bulge" episode of When Weather Changed History, "WWII IN 3D", the History Channel's "The Last Days of WWII", 2014's PBS Masters' 200th anniversary episode, "Salinger", and PBS's "D-Day 360".
His most recent book, The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau, tells the story of Texas-born Felix Sparks, an officer in the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division, who participated in four amphibious invasions in Europe and commanded the Thunderbird unit that liberated Dachau on 29 April 1945. It was widely praised for its gritty realism and described by the Wall Street Journal as an "exceptional chronicle of one soldier's experience in WWII." His next book, Avenue of Spies, published in August 2015, tells the story of the Avenue Foch in Paris in WWII, focusing in particular on Gestapo officer Helmut Knochen and an American doctor and his family.
The History Channel is currently developing The Liberator as a potential eight-part series, penned by Jeb Stuart.
Since 2012, Kershaw has led several battlefield tours of Europe for the National World War II Museum. He is also a popular speaker, appearing regularly at conferences and events, in particular to commemorate the Second World War.
- The Bedford Boys, Cambridge, Mass: Da Capo Press, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81167-7 OCLC 52133420
- Jack London: A Life
- Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006. ISBN 0-306-81356-4 OCLC 56133834
- The Longest Winter - The Battle of the Bulge and the Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon, Da Capo Press, 2004 ISBN 0-306-81304-1 OCLC 57045202
- The Few: The American "Knights of the Air" Who Risked Everything to Fight in the Battle of Britain, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006. ISBN 0-306-81303-3 OCLC 74284748
- Escape from the Deep: A Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew, Perseus Books, 2008. ISBN 0-306-81519-2 OCLC 176894607
- The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe, Da Capo Press, 2010. ISBN 0-306-82043-9 OCLC 656544874 Published in the UK as To Save a People, by Hutchinson
- The Liberator, Crown Broadway, October 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-88799-3 OCLC 793503440
- "Alex Kershaw". IMDb.
- "Alex Kershaw". Alex Kershaw. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- Kershaw's website
- book tv interview
- Interview on The Longest Winter at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on February 9, 2005
- Interview on The Few at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on November 14, 2006
- Interview on Escape from the Deep at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on May 15, 2008
- Lecture on The Liberators at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on March 20, 2014
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