Dominic Sandbrook

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dominic Sandbrook (born 2 October 1974)[1][2] is a British historian, author, columnist and television presenter.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, he was educated at Malvern College[4][5] and studied at Balliol College, Oxford, the University of St Andrews and Jesus College, Cambridge.

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,[6] 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. Writing for H-Net, the interdisciplinary forum for scholars in the humanities and social sciences, David Stebenne said the book "describes McCarthy's life and work with outstanding grace and clarity", and was "a very fine study of a significant figure that serious students of American postwar history will want to consult."[7] McCarthy himself called the book "almost libellous".[8]

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".[9] 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".[10]

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.".[11] In November 2009, it was named by the Telegraph as "one of the books that defined the Noughties".[12]

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. Charles Shaar Murray, writing in The Independent, called Sandbrook "the Hoodie Historian" and imagined him "slouching into shot while throwing whatever passes for gang signs in the history department of the University of Sheffield, and announcing to Arthur Marwick, Jonathon Green et al that "You is all mi bitches nuh.""[13]

Sandbrook continued the history of post-war Britain with State of Emergency (2010), covering the period 1970–1974,[14] and Seasons in the Sun, which took the story up to the election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister in 1979. He has said that a fifth volume, covering the period 1979–1984 and provisionally titled Who Dares Wins, may follow.[15]

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".[16]

Apparent plagiarism[edit]

In February 2011, Michael C. Moynihan identified several instances of apparent plagiarism in Sandbrook's book Mad as Hell.[17] Moynihan later expressed amazement that there were few repercussions for Sandbrook's career.[18] He suggested that Sandbrook was shielded from criticism by his social connections, saying: "There is an element of protection. Media buddies who go to the same dinner parties and all the rest of it."[19]

In an interview with Brendan O'Neill, Sandbrook rejected the allegations and said "the fact that Mad as Hell was later published in paperback without any changes 'tells its own story'." He maintained that he "footnoted his sources, and if popular history books sometimes sound familiar that is because there are only so many ways to say things."[19]


Sandbrook presented the BBC Two series The 70s, broadcast in April/May 2012.

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.[20]

In November and December 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. In 2015 he presented a four-part series, Let Us Entertain You on postwar British culture.

In August 2016 he presented The '80s with Dominic Sandbrook.[21]



  1. ^ "Seasons in the Sun". Penguin Books. 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "About me". Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Campelli, Matthew (5 November 2015). "Dominic Sandbrook entertains 800k". Broadcast. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Malvern Experience 11–31 July 2010". Malvern College. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via Wayback Machine. 
  5. ^ "The week ahead". Wellington College. 24 September 2010. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via Wayback Machine. 
  6. ^ "King's College London". Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via Wayback Machine. 
  7. ^ Stebenne, David (August 2005). "Famous for Fifteen Minutes". H-Net. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Former Sen. McCarthy blasts biographer". The Hill. Washington, D.C. 18 February 2004. Archived from the original on 9 June 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via Wayback Machine. 
  9. ^ Howard, Anthony (1 May 2005). "The actor-manager's greatest production". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Cohen, Nick (1 May 2005). "The 60s? They began in '56". The Observer. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  11. ^ McKinstry, Leo (5 August 2006). "Which decade really swung?". The Times. London. 
  12. ^ MacArthur, Brian (13 November 2009). "100 books that defined the noughties". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  13. ^ Murray, Charles Shaar (11 August 2006). "Children of the revolution?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Montefiore, Simon Sebag (10 October 2010). "State of Emergency by Dominic Sandbrook: review". The Sunday Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "New projects". 2013. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via Wayback Machine. 
  16. ^ Sawyer, Miranda (20 June 2010). "Nicky Campbell; SlapDash Britain; Jeremy Vine". The Observer. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  17. ^ Moynihan, Michael C. (12 February 2011). "When the Tea Party Began". The Wall Street Journal. New York City. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Kamer, Foster (30 July 2012). "Q & A: Michael C. Moynihan, The Guy Who Uncovered Jonah Lehrer's Fabrication Problem". The New York Observer. New York City. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  19. ^ a b O'Neill, Brendan (8 August 2012). "The US journalist who exposed Jonah Lehrer wonders why his criticisms of Dominic Sandbrook were ignored". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  20. ^ "Strange Days: Cold War Britain". BBC. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  21. ^ BBC Programme Guide

External links[edit]