Sampson in 1995, at his London home.
|Born||Anthony Terrell Seward Sampson
3 August 1926
Billingham, County Durham
|Died||18 December 2004(aged 78)|
|Known for||Mandela: The Authorised Biography|
|Spouse(s)||Sally Sampson (1965–2004)|
Anthony Terrell Seward Sampson (3 August 1926 – 18 December 2004) was a British writer and journalist. His most notable and successful book was Anatomy of Britain, published to acclaim in 1962. He was the grandson of linguist John Sampson, of whom he wrote a biography entitled The Scholar Gypsy: The Quest For A Family Secret (1997).
Sampson was born in Billingham, County Durham, and was educated at Westminster School. At the age of 18 he joined the Royal Navy, and in his time there (1944–47) rose to the rank of sub-lieutenant RN Volunteer Reserve. He read English at Christ Church, Oxford, in the late 1940s.
At the age of 25 he went to Johannesburg, South Africa, to be editor of the magazine Drum, remaining there for four years. On returning to the United Kingdom he joined the editorial staff of The Observer, where he worked from 1955 to 1966.
He was the author of a series of major books, starting with Anatomy of Britain (1962), his main themes being how Britain works as a state, and large corporation. Sampson took an interest in broad political and economic power structure, but saw power as personal. His books read like series of interlocked biographies – of arms merchants, oil company executives, etc. He would offer psychoanalytical interpretations of the power players, such as this passages from The Money Lenders:
"[Bankers] seem specially conscious of time, always aware that time is money. There is always a sense of restraint and tension. (Is it part of the connection which Freud observed between compulsive neatness, anal eroticism, and interest in money?)"
He was a personal friend of Nelson Mandela from before Mandela ever became a political figure in South Africa. In 1964, Anthony attended the Rivonia Trial in support of Mandela and other ANC leaders. In 1999 he wrote an authorised biography of Mandela.
- Common Sense About Africa (1960)
- Anatomy of Britain (1962)
- Anatomy of Britain today (1965)
- The New Anatomy of Britain (1971)
- Changing Anatomy of Britain (1982)
- The Essential Anatomy of Britain: Democracy in Crisis (1992)
- The New Europeans (1968)
- The Sovereign State of ITT (1973)
- The Seven Sisters (a study of the international oil industry) (1974, ISBN 0-553-20449-1)
- The Arms Bazaar (a study of the international arms trade) (1977)
- The Money Lenders (a study of international banking) (1981)
- Black Gold (about the crumbling of apartheid and the business/financial picture in South Africa) (1987)
- Company Man (a study of corporate life) (1995)
- The Scholar Gypsy: The Quest For A Family Secret (1997)
- Mandela: The Authorised Biography (1999), winner of the Alan Paton Award
- Who Runs This Place?: The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century (2004)
- The Anatomist – autobiography (prepared for publication by Sampson's wife and family) (2008, Politico's Publishing, 978-1842-75229-6)
- "The life and times of Anthony Sampson", Robert McCrum, "Anthony Sampson: the private world of the man who knew everyone", The Observer, 26 February 2012.
- John Thompson, "Anthony Sampson" (obituary), The Guardian, 21 December 2004.]
- Henry Krempels, "The life and times of Anthony Sampson", The Observer, 26 February 2012.
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