Christopher Hibbert

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Arthur Raymond "Christopher" Hibbert
Born 5 March 1924
Died 21 December 2008
Main interests
British history
Major works
Various major biographies

Christopher Hibbert MC (5 March 1924 – 21 December 2008), born Arthur Raymond Hibbert, was an English writer, historian and biographer. He has been called "a pearl of biographers" (New Statesman) and "probably the most widely-read popular historian of our time and undoubtedly one of the most prolific" (The Times).[1] Hibbert was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many books, including The Story of England, Disraeli, Edward VII, George IV, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads.

Life and career[edit]

In 1924 Arthur Raymond Hibbert was born in Enderby, Leicestershire, the son of Canon H. V. Hibbert (died 1980) and his wife Maude, and was educated at Radley College, before he went up to Oriel College at the University of Oxford.[1][2] He was awarded the degrees of B.A. and later MA. He left Oriel College to join the Army, where a sergeant major referred to Hibbert as Christopher Robin based upon his youthful looks. The name "Christopher" subsequently stuck. Hibbert served as an infantry officer in the London Irish Rifles regiment in Italy during World War II, reaching the rank of captain. He was wounded twice and awarded the Military Cross in 1945.[2][3] Hibbert became the personal assistant to General Alan Duff. From 1945 to 1959 he was a partner in a firm of land agents and auctioneers,[1] and began his writing career in 1957.[3]

Hibbert was awarded the Heinemann Award for Literature in 1962 for The Destruction of Lord Raglan,[2] and the McColvin Medal of the Library Association in 1989. Christopher Hibbert was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographical Society, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by the University of Leicester.

Hibbert was a member of the Army and Navy Club and the Garrick Club. He lived at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. He was married to Susan Piggford with three children, his daughter and literary executor Kate Hibbert, television writer James Hibbert and music journalist Tom Hibbert.[2]

He died on 21 December 2008 in Henley-on-Thames from bronchial pneumonia at the age of 84.[1][2][3] He was cremated after a humanist ceremony in Oxford on 2 January 2009, and was survived by his wife and their three children.[4]


Hibbert's books include:

  • The Road to Tyburn (New World, 1957)
  • King Mob (Longmans, 1958)
  • Wolfe at Quebec (Longmans, 1959)
  • Corunna (B.T. Batsford,1961) ISBN 113571309X
  • The Destruction of Lord Raglan (Longmans, 1961)
  • Benito Mussolini (Longmans, 1962)
  • The Roots of Evil: A Social History of Crime and Punishment (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1963)
  • Agincourt (Batsford, 1964)
  • The Court at Windsor (Longmans, 1964)
  • Garibaldi and his enemies (Longmans, 1965)
  • The Making of Charles Dickens (Harper & Row, 1967)
  • Waterloo (New English Library, 1967) ISBN 978-1853266874
  • London, the Biography of a City (Longmans, Green & Co., 1969)
  • Charles I (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968)
  • The Search for King Arthur (American Heritage, 1969)
  • The Dragon Wakes (Harper & Row, 1970)
  • The Personal History of Samuel Johnson (Longmans, 1971)
  • Tower of London (Newsweek, 1971) ISBN 978-0882250021
  • George IV (Vol 1: Longman, 1972; Vol 2: Allen Lane)
  • The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall (Morrow, 1975)
  • Edward VII: A Portrait (Allen Lane, 1976)
  • The Great Mutiny: India, 1857 (Allen Lane, 1978), as Penguin Pocketbook: 1980, ISBN 978-0-14-004752-3.
  • The French Revolution (Penguin, 1980) ISBN 978-0-14-004945-9.
  • Africa Explored (Allen Lane, 1982)
  • The London Encyclopaedia with Ben Weinreb (Macmillan, 1983)
  • Rome, the Biography of a City (Norton, 1985) ISBN 0393019845
  • The English: A Social History (Grafton, 1987) ISBN 0246121815
  • Venice: The Biography of a City 1988 listing
  • The Encyclopaedia of Oxford (Macmillan, 1988)
  • Redcoats and Rebels (Grafton, 1990) ISBN 978-0393322934
  • The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age (Addison–Wesley, 1991)
  • Florence: Biography of a City (Norton, 1993) ISBN 0140166440
  • Cavaliers & Roundheads: The English Civil War, 1642–1649 (HarperCollins, 1993)
  • The Story of England (Phaidon Press, 1994)
  • Nelson: A Personal History (Penguin, 1994) ISBN 978-0-14-016738-2
  • Wellington: A Personal History (Da Capo, 1997)
  • George III: A Personal History (Penguin, 1998) ISBN 978-0-14-025737-3
  • Queen Victoria: A Personal History (HarperCollins, 2000)
  • The Marlboroughs: John and Sarah Churchill 1650-1744 (Viking, 2001)
  • Napoleon: His Wives and Women (HarperCollins, 2002)
  • Great Battles: Agincourt (Phoenix new edition 2003) ISBN 1842127187
  • Disraeli: A Personal History (HarperCollins, 2004)
  • Disraeli: The Victorian Dandy Who Became Prime Minister (Palgrave Macmillan, New York City 2006) ISBN 978-1-4039-7270-5.
  • The Borgias and Their Enemies: 1431–1519 (Mariner Books, 2009)


  1. ^ a b c d "Christopher Hibbert: popular historian". The Times. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sheppard, Francis (27 January 2009). "Obituary: Christopher Hibbert". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Grimes, William (6 January 2009). "Christopher Hibbert, 84, Lively Historian, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Hibbert, Arthur Raymond [Christopher] (1924–2008), historian". Dictionary of National Biography. May 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.  Subscription needed.

Further reading[edit]

  • Crookes, John; Green, Alison; Smith, Sarah, (editors) (2001). Debrett's People of Today (14th Annual ed.). London. p. 906. ISBN 1-870520-64-5.