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He did his National Service in the Coldstream Guards, in which he was commissioned in 1955, promoted Lieutenant in 1956, and served in the British Army of the Rhine. In 1956, Pryce-Jones lectured the men under his command about the necessity of the Suez War, but admits that he did not believe what he was saying. At the time, he believed that the Islamic world would soon progress after decolonization, and was disappointed when this did not happen. He has worked as a journalist and author. He was Literary Editor at the Financial Times 1959-61, and The Spectator from 1961-63.
Pryce-Jones currently works as senior editor at National Review magazine. He also contributes to The New Criterion and Commentary, and for Benador Associates. Pryce-Jones often writes about the contemporary events and the history of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and intelligence matters.
In his 1989 book The Closed Circle, Pryce-Jones examined what he considered to be the reasons for the backward state of the Arab world. A review described the book as more of an "indictment" than an examination of the Arab world. In Pryce-Jones's opinion, the root cause of Arab backwardness is tribal nature of Arab political life, which reduces all politics to war of rival families struggling mercilessly for power. As such, Pryce-Jones's view power in Arab politics consists of a network of client-patron relations between powerful and less powerful families and clans. Pryce-Jones considers as an additional retarding factor in Arab society the influence of Islam, which hinders efforts to build a Western style society where the family and clan are not the dominant political unit. Pryce-Jones argues that Islamic fundamentalism is a means of attempting to mobilize the masses behind the dominant clans. In his book, Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews, he has accused the French government of being anti-Semitic and pro-Arab, and of consistently siding against Israel in the hope of winning the favour of the Islamic world.
He is the son of writer Alan Payan Pryce-Jones (1908–2000) by his first wife (married 1934), Therese "Poppy" Fould-Springer (1908-February 1953). Therese was a daughter of Baron Eugène Fould-Springer, a French-born banker who was a cousin of Achille Fould, and Marie-Cecile or Mitzi Springer, later Mrs Frank Wooster or Mary Wooster, whose father was the industrialist Baron Gustav Springer (1842–1920). She also had a brother, Baron Max Fould-Springer (1906–1999), and two sisters Helene Propper de Callejón (1907–1997), wife of Spanish diplomat Eduardo Propper de Callejón and grandmother of actress Helena Bonham Carter, and Baroness Liliane de Rothschild (1916–2003).
His parents married in 1934 in Vienna, and Pryce Jones was born in Vienna. In 1940, a four-year-old David was stranded with his nanny in Dieppe and was rescued from the invading German army by his mother's brother-in-law Eduardo Propper de Callejón. Pryce Jones acknowledged his uncle-by-marriage's efforts in saving his own life when Propper de Callejón retired from Spanish diplomatic service.
He married Clarissa Caccia, daughter of diplomat Harold Caccia, Baron Caccia, in 1959. They have three surviving children, (one deceased, Sonia: 1970-1972), Jessica, Candida and Adam, and live in London.
Pryce Jones is a first cousin of Elena Propper de Callejón, wife of late banker Raymond Bonham Carter and mother of actress Helena Bonham Carter. Another cousin is Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, only son of the better known Baron Élie de Rothschild.
- Inheritance (1992)
- The Afternoon Sun (1986) ISBN 0-297-78822-1
- Shirley’s Guild (1979)
- The England Commune (1975)
- Running Away (1971)
- The Stranger’s View (1967)
- Quondam (1965)
- The Sands of Summer (1963)
- Owls & Satyrs (1961)
- Treason of the Heart. From Thomas Paine to Kim Philby (2011)
- Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews (2006) ISBN 1-59403-151-7
- The Strange Death of the Soviet Empire (1995) ISBN 0-8050-4154-0
- The War that Never Was: The Fall of the Soviet Empire 1985 - 1991 (1995) ISBN 0-297-81320-X
- You Can’t be Too Careful (1992)
- The Closed Circle (1989)
- Cyril Connolly: Journal & Memoir (1983) ISBN 0-00-216546-5
- Paris in the Third Reich (1981)
- Vienna (1978)
- Unity Mitford (1976)
- Evelyn Waugh & his world (1973)
- The Face of Defeat (1972)
- The Hungarian Revolution (1969)
- Next Generation: Travels in Israel (1965)
- Graham Greene (1963)
- Ellen Doon. "Alan Pryce-Jones Papers", Yale, New Haven, Connecticut. May 2003. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
- Gellner, Ernest "Up From Imperialism" pages 34-36 from The New Republic, Volume 200, Number 21, Issue #3, 879, 22 May 1989 page 34
- Gellner, Ernest "Up From Imperialism" pages 34-36 from The New Republic, Volume 200, Number 21, Issue #3, 879, 22 May 1989 page 35
- Gellner, Ernest "Up From Imperialism" pages 34-36 from The New Republic, Volume 200, Number 21, Issue #3, 879, 22 May 1989 page 36
- The year of death is from the Pryce Jones papers at Yale and other sources. Burke's Peerage 103rd edition (1963) apparently gives the year wrongly as 1952, unless the error is in the transfer to online data. The Fould Springer genealogical notes by Anne Yamey (below) incorrectly give her date of death as 1997.
- According to the New York Social Diary, Wooster had been a lover of her husband and had lived with them in a troika before Eugène died. The widow and the bereaved lover then married; he lived until 1953. The story, well known to their circle, was not revealed publicly until her British son-in-law Alan Pryce Jones wrote about it in his memoirs. See also another story on how the Fould-Springers met Wooster
- "Baroness Elie de Rothschild". Telegraph. 20 February 2003. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
- "CARTER TOO JEWISH FOR JEWISH ROLE". ContactMusic. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- Weisbach, Rachel (2006). "Barmitzvah joy for Helena". SomethingJewish. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- Costa, Maddy (3 November 2006). "'It's all gone widescreen'". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
- Obituary: Baroness Elie de Rothschild. Independent, The (London)
- Anne Yamey. Springer family: DANIEL and The FOULD-SPRINGER family. Retrieved 28 February 2008. The title was granted by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.
- Jenni Frazer. Ibid
- Ellen Doon. "Alan Pryce-Jones Papers", Yale, New Haven, Connecticut. May 2003. This also lists some of David Pryce-Jones's British aristocratic connections at the end. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
- Jenni Frazer. "How Helena’s grandfather was finally recognised as a true hero" The Jewish Chronicle 8 February 2008, narrating how Eduardo Propper de Callejón was recognized as "Righteous Among Nations" recently. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
- Eric Pace. Alan Pryce-Jones, 91, Editor And Eminent Man of Letters" (obituary). The New York Times, 2 February 2000. Retrieved 28 February 2008. For Pryce-Jones's ancestry
- Anne Yamey. (May 2003?). Springer and Fould-Springer families of Ansbach. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
- Gellner, Ernest "Up From Imperialism" pages 34–36 from The New Republic, Volume 200, Number 21, Issue #3, 879, 22 May 1989.
- Official website — David Pryce-Jones
- David Pryce-Jones's bio in Benador Associates web site at the Wayback Machine
- Terror Tomes: Top books on unconventional warfare — Editorial by David Pryce-Jones in The Wall Street Journal (2006-06-24)