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The war hero who became Britain’s greatest historian

Features | By James Hanning | July 2017


Sir Michael Howard, venerable academic and adviser to prime ministers, is 94. James Hanning met him in his bucolic Berkshire home

To say Sir Michael Howard is eminent is to be so understated as to almost defame him. He was Professor of the History of War, Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, and Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University. He has advised prime ministers, written countless books on the conduct of war and did more than anyone in Britain to develop strategic studies as an academic discipline.  He met A J P Taylor, Arthur Koestler, Michael Flanders, Guy Burgess, Humphrey Lyttelton, Rab Butler, E M Forster, Cyril Connolly and Ralph Richardson, as recounted in Captain Professor, his mortar-to-mortarboard memoir published eleven years ago. Sir Max Hastings calls him ‘the wisest man I know’ and ‘Britain’s greatest living historian’. Now 94, he lives quietly with Mark James, his partner of more than fifty years, and his 4,000 books in a caricature of comfortable village life in Berkshire. Since a heart...

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