Thomas Harding (writer)

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Thomas Harding
Thomas Harding.jpg
Born 1968
London, England
Occupation Author and journalist
Writing career
Genre Non-fiction

Thomas Harding (born 1968) is a British/American non-fiction author, journalist, and former documentary maker.

Early life and education[edit]

Harding was educated at the Westminster School in London and then studied anthropology and political science at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He worked in television and journalism before becoming an author.


His book Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz (2013) was a national bestseller in the UK, Italy and Israel and was chosen as a "Book of the Year" for 2013 by The Times, the Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Observer, the Daily Telegraph and the New Statesman. The book has been translated into more than 18 languages. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Book Awards [1] and won the 2015 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize for non-fiction.[2]

His next book, Kadian Journal, was published in 2014; it is about his son, who died in a cycling accident.[3] Doron Weber of the Washington Post described it as "a fine, brave book, a tough-minded, tender-hearted evocation of a beautiful boy, his all-too-short life and the impact of his death on a loving family. Harding has done his boy proud and turned nightmare into art."[4]

The House by the Lake, an account of the five families, including his grandmother, who resided in a house in Berlin,[5] was published in 2015. The Economist wrote 'If Hanns and Rudolf was a sonata, The House by the Lake is a symphony, telling the story of modern Germany with one recurring theme: history as seen from the Alexander family’s lake house outside Berlin. The House by the Lake skips between its varied occupants and [historical] events to present an admirably clear and concise history of modern Germany. It’s an impressive feat of archival and investigative research. Fascinating revelations abound…. [A] powerful book.'[6] The House by the Lake was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards[7] and longlisted for the 2016 Orwell Prize.[8]

Blood on the Page was published in 2018. It is the investigation of the 2006 murder of the London-based author Allan Chappelow and the man found guilty of the crime Wang Yam. The murder trial was the first in modern British history to be held in secret .[9]. The book was acclaimed by critics: the author Tony Parsons (British journalist) said it is 'An In Cold Blood for our time – a brilliant and unflinching anatomy of a murder that is both brutal true crime and heartbreaking human tragedy'.[10] The Sunday Times wrote that the book 'Reads like a thriller, a rigorous investigation, a revealing piece of social history.'[11] While the author Philippe Sands said it was 'Meticulous and gripping - a thriller that disturbs for revelations about a singular act of murder, and the national security state which we call home'. The book was longlisted for the 2018 Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for non fiction prize. [12]


Harding has written for numerous newspapers including The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Washington Post, The Independent, Der Spiegel and The Financial Times. He also co-hosted a political talk show on WEPM (Martinsburg, West Virginia), narrated audiobooks [13], and presented for BBC Newsnight.

In December 2006 he became co-owner and publisher of the Shepherdstown Observer in West Virginia. In 2010 the newspaper won a Freedom of Information Act case before the West Virginia Supreme Court, which resulted in referendum petitions being released to it.[14][15][16][17]

In 2010 he convinced John Doyle, a delegate in the West Virginia House of Delegates, of the need for a state law protecting reporters' privilege not to reveal their sources;[18] the reporters' shield bill sponsored by Doyle was passed by the West Virginia House and Senate in March 2011.[19] In March 2011 he sold his interest in the paper.

Videos and documentaries[edit]

Before moving to the US, Harding co-founded and managed the environmental and social justice production company Undercurrents. During his time at the company Undercurrents won several awards and became known for covering stories not covered by other news organizations. Undercurrents became part of the DIY culture and general protest upswing in the 1990s.[20]

He and his wife were joint CEOs and co-founders of the Oxford Channel, a local television channel operating under a Restricted Service Licence. In 2000, the board voted to sell the station and its operating company to Milestone Group.[21] The station is no longer operational.

While in the US, he helped develop the American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF), in partnership with the National Conservation Training Center.[22]


  • Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz (2013, Random House)
  • Kadian Journal - A Father’s Story (2014, Random House)
  • The House By The Lake: Berlin. One House. Five Families. A Hundred years of History (2015, Penguin Random House)
  • Blood On The Page: A Murder, a Secret Trial, a Search for the Truth (2018, Penguin Random House)



  1. ^ "Costa book awards 2013: late author on all-female fiction shortlist", The Guardian, 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b Josh Jackman, "Michel Laub and Thomas Harding win JQ-Wingate Prize for books on the Holocaust", Jewish Chronicle, 20 April 2015.
  3. ^ Helen Brown, "Kadian Journal by Thomas Harding, review: 'a heartbreaking record'", The Telegraph, 20 July 2014.
  4. ^ Washington Post, January 13, 2017
  5. ^ Adam Kirsch, "The House by the Lake is a history of Germany told in a single house", New Statesman, 10 October 2015.
  6. ^ Economist
  7. ^ a b "Shortlist for the 2015 Costa Novel Award", Costa Book Awards, retrieved 22 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b "The House by the Lake, Thomas Harding", 2016 Book prize long list, Orwell Prize, retrieved 22 November 2016.
  9. ^ Guardian [ "Murder conviction of Chinese MI6 informant referred to appeal court"
  10. ^ Penguin Random House.
  11. ^ Sunday Times [ "Book review: Blood on the Page: A Murder, a Secret Trial, a Search for the Truth by Thomas Harding"
  12. ^ a b Blood on the Page, Thomas Harding", 2018 Book prize long list, Crime Writers' Association
  13. ^ Audiobook"Blood on the Page"
  14. ^ Ken Ward Jr., "Supreme Court overturns Jefferson County ruling that narrowed West Virginia’s public records law", blog, Charleston Gazette-Mail, 23 September 2010.
  15. ^ Steve Korris, "Petitions are public records, Justices rule", West Virginia Record, 30 September 2010.
  16. ^ Kyla Asbury, "Summary judgment granted for Shepherdstown Observer publisher in case against Tennant", West Virginia Record, 27 May 2013.
  17. ^ Lawrence Messina, "W.Va. judge voids elections complaint gag law", Real Clear Politics, 20 June 2012.
  18. ^ John Doyle, "Allowing reporters to protect their sources", The Doyle Report, Shepherdstown Chronicle, 30 April 2011.
  19. ^ Kristen Rasmussen, "W.Va. shield bill passed, awaits acting governor's signature", Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 14 March 2011.
  20. ^ Thomas Harding, "Viva camcordistas! Video activism and the protest movement", in George McKay, ed., DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain, London/New York: Verso, 1998, ISBN 9781859848784, pp. 84–99.
  21. ^ Roddy Mansfield, "TV that's right up your street", The Guardian, 24 July 2000.
  22. ^ Amy Mathews Amos, "ACFF Turns 10", Fluent, September–October 2012, pp. 24–25 (digitized at Issuu).
  23. ^ Awards List, West Virginia Association for Justice, 14 March 2012.
  24. ^ [

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