Early life and career
Previously a lecturer in history at the University of Sheffield, he has been a senior fellow of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University and a member of its history faculty. Sandbrook is now visiting professor at King's College London and a freelance writer and newspaper columnist. In 2007 he was named one of Waterstone's 25 Authors for the Future.
Sandbrook's first book, a biography of the American politician and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, proved extremely controversial on its publication in the United States in 2004. The book was described by Louis Menand in The New Yorker as "intelligent and well written" but "unremittingly unsympathetic" toward its subject. McCarthy himself called the book "almost libellous".
In 2005, Sandbrook published Never Had It So Good, a history of Britain from the Suez Crisis to The Beatles, 1956–1963. It was described as a "rich treasure chest of a book" by Anthony Howard in The Daily Telegraph, who wrote of his "respect for the sweep and scope of the author's knowledge", while Nick Cohen wrote in The Observer that it was "a tribute to Sandbrook's literary skill that his scholarship is never oppressive. Alternately delightful and enlightening, he has produced a book which must have been an enormous labour to write but is a treat to read".
The sequel, White Heat, covering the years 1964–1970 and the rise and fall of Harold Wilson's Labour government, was published in August 2006. "Sandbrook's book could hardly be more impressive in its scope," wrote Leo McKinstry in The Times. "He writes with authority and an eye for telling detail.". In November 2009, it was named by the Telegraph as "one of the books that defined the Noughties".
Unlike some previous historians of the 1960s, Sandbrook argues that the period was marked by strong conservatism and conformity. His books attempt to debunk what he sees as myths associated with the period, from the sexual revolution to student protest, and he challenges the "cultural revolution" thesis associated with historians like Arthur Marwick. This approach has not always endeared him to professional veterans of the period. The rock critic Charles Shaar Murray, for example, called him "the Hoodie Historian ... throwing whatever passes for gang signs in the history department of the University of Sheffield".
Sandbrook continued the history of post-war Britain with State of Emergency (2010), covering the period 1970–1974, and Seasons in the Sun, which took the story up to the election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister in 1979. According to his website, he is currently working on a fifth volume about Britain in the early 1980s.
Sandbrook has written articles and reviews for the Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer and The Daily Telegraph and has appeared on BBC radio and television. His Radio Four series Slapdash Britain, charting the rise and fall of British governance since the Second World War, was described by the radio critic Miranda Sawyer as "very brilliant".
In February 2011, Michael C. Moynihan identified several instances of apparent plagiarism in Sandbrook's book Mad as Hell. Moynihan later expressed amazement that there were few repercussions for Sandbrook's career.
He also presented Das Auto: The Germans, their cars and us, a documentary focusing on the postwar German automobile industry.
In November 2013, his new three part series Strange Days: Cold War Britain was broadcast on BBC Two.
In November and December of 2014, his series Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction was aired in four parts, examining not only the history of the genre, but also looking at its cultural, political and psychological elements.
Sandbrook has published the following books:
- Eugene McCarthy: and the Rise and Fall of Postwar American Liberalism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2004. ISBN 1-4000-4105-8.
- Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles. London: Little, Brown. 2005. ISBN 0-316-86083-2.
- White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties. London: Little, Brown. 2006. ISBN 0-316-72452-1.
- State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain 1970–1974. London: Allen Lane. 2010. ISBN 1-84614-031-5.
- Mad As Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2011. ISBN 1-4000-4262-3.
- Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979. London: Allen Lane. 2012. ISBN 978-1-84614-032-7.
- BBC Radio 4 Extra - Archive on 4 - Tuning In, 3 November 2012
- "About me", Dominic Sandbrook website.
- The Malvern Experience 11–31 July 2010. Malvern College official website. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- The week ahead Sunday 21 January until Sunday 28 January. Wellington College official website. Retrieved 16 July 2010.[dead link]
- "King’s College London", Dominic Sandbrook website.
- Anthony Howard, "The actor-manager's greatest production" (book review), Daily Telegraph, 1 May 2005.
- Nick Cohen "The 60s? They began in '56" (book review), The Observer, 1 May 2005.
- The Times, 5 August 2006.
- Brian MacArthur "100 books that defined the noughties", Daily Telegraph, 13 November 2009.
- Charles Shaar Murray, "Children of the revolution?" (book review), Independent, 11 August 2006.
- Simon Sebag Montefiore "State of Emergency by Dominic Sandbrook: review", Sunday Telegraph, 10 October 2010.
- "New projects", Dominic Sandbrook website.
- Miranda Sawyer, "Nicky Campbell; SlapDash Britain; Jeremy Vine", The Observer, 20 June 2010.
- Michael C. Moynihan (12 February 2011). "When the Tea Party Began". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Foster Kamer (30 July 2012). "Q & A: Michael C. Moynihan, The Guy Who Uncovered Jonah Lehrer’s Fabrication Problem". New York Observer. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Strange Days: Cold War Britain, BBC website
- "Books: Available and coming soon". Dominic Sandbrook website. Retrieved 2 February 2012.