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Richard Vinen is a Professor in History. Prior to joining the department in 1991, he was a Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge and lecturer at Queen Mary College.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • 20th century French history
  • Modern Europe
  • Modern Britain

Richard Vinen specialises in twentieth century history. His current research is on Modern Britain He published Thatcher’s Britain (Simon and Schuster, 2009) and is currently working on a study of military service in post-war Britain. Previously he has worked mainly on twentieth century France and produced a number of publications on Vichy, the fourth republic and the Algerian War. These researches culminated in the publication of The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation (Penguin, 2006) which looks at the consequences of the French army’s defeat in 1940 through the daily lives of those caught up in the horrors of war. He has also written a general book on twentieth century Europe, A History in Fragments: Europe in the Twentieth Century (Little Brown, 2000).

Professor Vinen would particularly welcome applications from research students interested in working on topics relating to:

  • Twentieth Century France, specifically Vichy France (1940-1944) and the Fourth Republic (1944-1958)
  • The Algerian war of 1954-1962
  • The pan-European protest movement of 1968
  • The social and political aspects of British history throughout the period since the Second World War, particularly Thatcher and Thatcher’s Britain

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Expertise and public engagement

Richard Vinen has written essays, reviews and opinion pieces for The TLS, The London Review of Books, The Independent, The Boston Globe, The Financial Times, The New York Times and the Nation.

He has appeared on radio and television - frequently talking on contemporary British politics.

He has written introductions to novels by Georges Simenon and programme notes for a London musical. He was, very briefly, academic advisor to those compiling The Sun’s History of the world