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Professor Brian  Holden-Reid
Prof Holden-Reid

Professor Brian Holden-Reid

  • Academics

Visiting Professor

Research subject areas

  • Conflict and security
  • History

Contact details


I am Professor of American History and Military Institutions in the Department of War Studies and Academic Member of Council. I am a graduate of the Universities of Hull, Sussex and London. I first joined the Department of War Studies in 1982. having also taught at the Polytechnic of North London and City University. I was appointed Senior Lecturer in 1982 and to chair in 2000. I served as Head of the Department of War Studies 2001-07 and in 2007 was awarded the Fellowship of King’s College (FKC), the highest honour the College can award its alumni and staff. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA)

For much of my career I have enjoyed a close association with the British armed forces. From 1984-1987 I was editor of the RUSI Journal in Whitehall, and he edited the RUSI's publications, including its 'Defence Studies' Series (Macmillan). In 1996 I became a Consultant Editor (Military History) to the RUSI Journal, and am now a member of its editorial board and numerous other journals.

From 1987-97 I was seconded by the Department of War Studies to the Staff College, Camberley, where I served as Resident Historian. I was the first civilian to serve on the Directing Staff for over a century, and helped set up the Higher Command and Staff Course to prepare selected Colonels and Brigadiers for the most senior appointments. Among my former students include the current Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of the General Staff and a former First Sea Lord, and the chiefs of many overseas armies.

 I am a graduate of the Staff College, Camberley (HCSC, 1988, psc, 1991) and an honorary graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies at the United States Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth.

Research Interests

My interests include: 

  • British and American Military Thought in the 20th Century
  • The American Civil War


Please refer to the Research Portal for a list of publications or download the following document: Prof Brian Holden Reid - Select Publications


I currently teach and convene the following modules:


  • 7SSWM014 Civil War in US


  • 4SSW1003 Experience of War
  • 6SSW2030 USA and World War Two

Expertise and Public Engagement

I have lectured at innumerable military institutions and formation study days, and served on many boards involved with the training and education of officers, including the Strategic and Combat Studies Institute. I was Chief Examiner of the Army Promotion Examination in War Studies for many years.

I was a member of the Council and then Chairman of the Army Record Society, and am currently an Honorary Vice President. I have also served on the Council of the Army Records Society, as an elected Trustee of the Society of Military History, currently serving my second term, and a Trustee and Member of the Council of the National Army Museum, London, and serving as chairman of its Disposals and Acquisition subcommittee; from 2003-7 I was a Trustee of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King’s. I was the first non-American to serve on the Jury for the Lincoln Prize, the most distinguished prize awarded in the field of Civil War History. I delivered prominent lectures in the United States, and in 2007 the year of the bicentenary of Robert E. Lee, was the first non-American to deliver the Elizabeth Roller Bottimore Lecture at the University of Richmond on the theme of ‘Robert E. Lee: The British View’.

I was recently selected by the Society for Military History to receive the 2010 Moncado Award for, 'Michael Howard and the Evolution of Modern War Studies' published in the 73rd volume of The Journal of Military History. In 2010 I become a member of King’s College Council .

Lectures, keynotes & presentations

The English Speaking Union, ‘New (or Old?) Currents in Western Defence and the Atlantic Relationship’, 8 March 2012

  • ‘The Relations between Officers and British Society’, the Advanced Staff Course of the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College and the French equivalent at l’École de Guerre housed in the École Militaire in Paris, 1st February 2012. This is a wholly new venture in combined staff training, following the signing of the Lancaster House Treaty of 2 December 2011 which links our military forces together.

  • Warwick School: HG Wells on March 23 2011.
  • The Terraine Memorial Lecture, Birmingham University, 10 May 2010
  • The Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall:  'The Origins of the American Civil War' - noting the connection between how wars start, are conducted and remembered. 10 November 2009

  • Revised and extended Peter J. Parish Memorial Lecture (sponsored by the British American Nineteenth Century Historians, Bracnh, which Parish founded) on 'William T. Sherman and the South' ,  All Souls College, Oxford , 4th November 2009
  • 'How Were Civil War Armies Kept in the Field?'  inaugural oration of the Keogh Society, a new body named after an Australian army officer who wrote two books on the American Civil War, dedicated to furthering its study, which the former Deputy Prime Minister Kim Beazley and other distinguished Australians attended.
  • 'The Idea of a Staff College' with the Deputy Commandant and Senior Directing Staff at the Australian Staff College.

  • Peter J. Parish Memorial Lecture (sponsored by the British American Nineteenth Century Historians, BrANCH, which Parish founded) on 'William T. Sherman and the South'. 17 October 2009