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08 July 2020

Dr Jonathan Fennell wins trilogy book deal with Penguin on the Second World War

Widely-acclaimed historian Dr Jonathan Fennell has landed a prestigious book deal on the Second World War.

J Fennell

Following the huge success of his 2019 publication Fighting the People’s War, Dr Jonathan Fennell has been offered a prestigious book deal for a new trilogy on the Second World War. The trilogy will be published by Penguin Random House (Viking) in the UK, HarperCollins in the US, CITIC in China and Spectrum in the Netherlands. It is due to be published between 2026 – 2031.

The three books will aim to bridge the gap between traditional military histories and mainstream political, social, cultural, economic and environmental histories of the period. The trilogy sets out to present a new and all-encompassing account of the Second World War, one that places the war at the centre of the momentous events that shaped the Twentieth Century.

Dr Fennell will present a full canvas of the war by also recognising the millions of ordinary men and women who endured the conflict, including the stories of those hitherto considered unimportant or overlooked, including women, minorities and the full range of social classes. In so doing, it will link the stories of the great campaigns with the dramatic personal, political, social, economic, cultural and environmental changes of the second half of the twentieth century.

The proposed titles and release dates are:

  • The Shadow of the Apocalypse, 1931-1942 will be published in hardback in 2026.
  • The Burning Furnace, 1942-1944 will be published in hardback in 2029.
  • A New World, 1944-1949 will be published in hardback in 2031.

This ten-year project presents a fantastic opportunity to write a new global history of the Second World War that integrates the story of the ordinary citizen into the narrative and explores how the experience of the conflict motivated people and nations to shape a new and better world. I hope that the trilogy will have a genuine creative and intellectual impact and help readers understand the role of ordinary people in the great events that define the Twentieth Century.

Dr Jonathan Fennell is a Reader in Modern History at King’s College London and the prize winning author of two books on the Second World War. After completing a Doctorate in Modern History at the University of Oxford, Jonathan worked in management consultancy in the City before joining King’s in 2009.

Jonathan’s most recent book, Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, 2019), won the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History 2020, and also the Society for Army Historical Research Templer Medal for the History of the British Army 2020. It was awarded the silver medal in the Military History Matters Book of the Year 2020 (a prize decided by public vote) and is currently shortlisted for the British Army Military Book of the Year 2020. Jonathan is Co-Director of the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at King’s College London and Co-Founder and President of the international scholarly society, the Second World War Research Group.

In this story

Jonathan Fennell

Professor of the History of War and Society