Thomas Pakenham (historian)
|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Longford
|Born||14 August 1933|
|Title||Earl of Longford|
|Tenure||3 August 2001 – present|
|Spouse(s)||Valerie Susan Scott|
|Parents||The 7th Earl of Longford
Thomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford (born 14 August 1933), known simply as Thomas Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish historian and arborist who has written several prize-winning books on the diverse subjects of African history, Victorian and post-Victorian British history, and trees.
He is the son of The 7th Earl of Longford, a Labour minister, and Elizabeth Longford. He has seven siblings, among them Lady Antonia Fraser, a writer who was married to playwright Harold Pinter; Lady Rachel Billington, also a writer and married to director Kevin Billington; Lady Judith Kazantzis, a poet; and The Hon. Kevin Pakenham, who currently[when?] works in the City of London. He is also the cousin of former Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman.
Thomas Pakenham, Lord Longford, does not use his title and did not use his courtesy title before succeeding his father. However, he has not disclaimed his British titles under the Peerage Act 1963, and the Irish peerages cannot be disclaimed as they are not covered by the Act. Following the House of Lords Act 1999 he is not entitled, as a hereditary peer, to sit in the House of Lords. His father was created a life peer in addition to his hereditary titles in order to be able to retain his seat in the upper house.
He married Valerie Susan McNair Scott in 1964 and they have four children:
- Lady Anna Maria Pakenham, b. 26 July 1965
- Lady Eliza Pakenham, b. 3 November 1966
- Edward Melchior Pakenham, Lord Silchester, b. 6 January 1970
- The Hon. Frederick Augustus Pakenham, b. 27 November 1971
After graduating from Belvedere College and Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1955, Thomas Pakenham travelled to Ethiopia, a trip which is described in his first book The Mountains of Rasselas. On returning to Britain, he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement and later for The Sunday Telegraph and The Observer. He divides his time between London and County Westmeath, Ireland, where he is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society and honorary custodian of Tullynally Castle.
Books authored or co-authored by Thomas Pakenham:
- The Mountains of Rasselas: Ethiopian Adventure. 1998. ISBN 0-297-82369-8.
- The Year of Liberty: The History of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798. ISBN 0-679-74802-4.
- The Boer War. 1979. ISBN 0-349-10466-2. (winner of The Cheltenham Prize)
- The Scramble for Africa. 1991. ISBN 0-349-10449-2. (winner of the WH Smith Literary Award and the Alan Paton Award)
- Meetings with Remarkable Trees. 1996. ISBN 0-297-83255-7. (made into a radio and television series of the same name)
- Remarkable Trees of the World. 2002. ISBN 0-297-84300-1.
- Remarkable Baobab. 2004. ISBN 0-297-84373-7.
- The Company of Trees: A Year in a Lifetime's Quest. September 2015. ISBN 978-0-2978-66244. Orion Publishing, London.
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