Sir Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin Gilbert was born in England in 1936. He was a graduate of Oxford University, from which he held a Doctorate of Letters, an Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and a Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College. In 1962 he began work as one of Randolph Churchill’s research assistants, and in 1968, after Randolph Churchill’s death, he became the official biographer of Winston Churchill. Over the next four decades, he wrote and published six volumes of the Churchill biography and twelve volumes of Churchill documents. Sir Martin Gilbert passed away on February 3, 2015, in London.

During forty-eight years of research and writing, Sir Martin published eighty-eight books, including The First World War, The Second World War, The Somme: The Heroism and Horror of War, D-Day, The Day the War Ended, and a three-volume History of the Twentieth Century. He also wrote, as part of his series of ten historical atlases, Atlases of the First World War and Atlas of the Second World War.

Sir Martin’s film and television work included a documentary series on the life of Winston Churchill. His other published works include Churchill: A Photographic Portrait, In Search of Churchill, Churchill and America, and the single volume Churchill, A Life.

During his time as a Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College, Sir Martin taught numerous courses and gave public lectures on Churchill, Jewish History, and the twentieth century. He also partnered with Hillsdale College Press to maintain in publication the entire official biography of Winston Churchill. Sir Martin’s archives are entrusted to Hillsdale College, and these papers will form the foundation for the remaining seven volumes of The Churchill Documents. Through the Churchill Project, Hillsdale College will make his correspondence and research connected to the official biography available to the public.

Sir Martin was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1988 “for services to education,” and was knighted in 1995 “for services to British history and international affairs.” In 1999 he was awarded a Doctorate of Literature by Oxford University for the totality of his historical writing. In 2009 he was appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council (becoming The Right Honourable Sir Martin Gilbert), and from 2009 to 2011, he served as a member of the British Government’s Iraq Inquiry.

Sir Martin Gilbert
Document Library

Hillsdale College is currently digitizing selected papers, research documents, notes, and personal correspondence by Sir Martin Gilbert. Sign up below to be notified by email when the Sir Martin Gilbert Document Library is released.

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Hillsdale College Resources

“A Scrupulous Historian and Churchill Biographer
Larry P. Arnn, President

“Sir Martin Gilbert and the Inklings” 
Brad Birzer, Professor of History

External Resources

“Gilbert Book Collection”
Sir Marin Gilbert

“The Achievement of Sir Martin Gilbert”
David Pryce Jones for Claremont Review of Books

“An Interview with Martin Gilbert”
Christopher Flannery and Larry P. Arnn for Claremont Review of Books

“The Churchillian Labours of Martin Gilbert”
Warren Dockter for The Telegraph

“Sir Martin Gilbert: One of the Greatest Historians of our Time”
Jonathan Sandys for the Churchill Bulletin

“On the Death (and Life) of Martin Gilbert”
Seth Mandel for Commentary

“Sir Martin Gilbert: Historian of Hope”
William Doino, Jr. for First Things

Tributes to Sir Martin Gilbert Allen Packwood, Andrew Roberts, and Paul Addison for Glow-Worm

“Martin Gilbert by His Friends”
Richard M. Langworth, Sir John Major, Gordon Brown, Max Hastings, Tonie and Valmai Holt, Douglas Russell, Emmett Tyrrell, Larry P. Arnn, Andrew Roberts, Barry Singer, Paul Addison, David Patterson, Cyril Mazansky, Matthew S. Gould, Michael Beizer, Allen Packwood, Ronald I. Cohen, Esther Gilbert, Randolph S. Churchill, David Freeman, Jaqueline Dean Witter, and Christopher H. Sterling for Finest Hour


What Did Democracy Mean to Churchill?

Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill, speaks at Hillsdale College on September 7, 2006, as part of the Distinguished Fellow Lecture Series.

Churchill’s Statesmanship, 1935-1945

Sir Martin Gilbert delivered this speech at Hillsdale’s campus on September 10, 2001, as part of a CCA seminar titled, “One of Freedom’s Finest Hours: Statesmanship and Soldiership in World War II.”

What Did the United States Mean to Winston Churchill?

Sir Martin Gilbert speaks at Hillsdale College on September 22, 2005, as part of the Distinguished Fellow Lecture Series.