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Professor David Reynolds FBA


David Reynolds is Professor of International History and a Fellow of Christ's College. He studied at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and has been a regular visitor to the United States since first going there as a graduate student in 1973. He served for two academic years as Chairman of the Faculty of History in 2013-15.

His visiting positions include posts at Harvard, Nihon University in Tokyo, and Sciences Po in Paris. He won the Wolfson Prize for History, 2004, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005. 

His most recent book is The Kremlin Letters: Stalin's Wartime Correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt (Yale University Press, 2018 - see weblink above), on which he collaborated with Prof. Vladimir Pechatnov (MGIMO, Moscow). It prints the principal messages between the Big Three and sets them within a commentary that provides an analytical narrative of this triangular relationship throughout the war. The book is based on a wide array of material from Russian, British and American archives, and the research has been supported by grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. 

David Reynolds is the author of eleven books, and five edited or co-edited volumes. Over the last few years he has published The Long Shadow (2013) - on the legacies of the Great War for the 20th century - about which he talks on the youtube clip above. This was awarded the 2014 Hessell-Tiltman Prize.  Transcending the Cold War (2016) is a major international study of summitry in the 1970s and 1980s,  which grew out of a conference supported by grants from the British Academy and CRASSH.

 He has also written and presented thirteen historical documentaries for BBC TV, ranging across the international history of the 20th century, including a three-part series for BBC2 'Long Shadow' based on his book (see link above), and a trilogy for BBC4 about the Big Three leaders of World War Two - all now available as DVDs or on Netflix. He also wrote and presented the award-winning BBC Radio 4 series America, Empire of Liberty (2008-9).

He reflected on some of the achievements of academic history today and also on what can get lost if history becomes too ‘academic’ in the 2019 Ramsay Murray Lecture at Selwyn College, Cambridge, on 10 May 2019 entitled 'History: Academic, Personal and Public'. For an audio of the talk, please go to 

Departments and Institutes

Christ's College :

Research Supervision

Prof. Reynolds has supervised dissertations on a broad range of topics,but he will be retiring from the University in September 2019 and will not, therefore, be taking on any new graduate students.



As is customary in Cambridge, Prof. Reynolds has done a wide variety of undergraduate teaching over the years, including American history since 1750, modern European history and modern British history. He has frequently offered a seminar course on 'Cold War Europe' for the MPhil in Modern European History and serves as co-convenor of the Public History Seminar.  In recent years he has also taught third-year Special Subjects on 'Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and the "Grand Alliance", 1941-5'; 'From World War to Cold War: America, Britain, Russia and the Division of Europe, 1944-50'; and most recently 'International Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War in Europe. 1985-91'.

Other Professional Activities

Prof. Reynolds has been a member of the Imperial War Museum's Academic Advisory Committees for the First World War galleries and, more recently, for the Second World War galleries.

He is a member of the editorial advisory boards of Cold War History, the International History Review and History and Policy, having previously served on the advisory board for the Journal of Contemporary History. 

A History and Policy interview with him about television and public history is available among the website links above. 

Key Publications

  • The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937-1941: A Study in Competitive Co-operation (1981). Awarded the Bernath Prize by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 1982.
  • An Ocean Apart: The Relationship between Britain and America in the 20th Century - co-author David Dimbleby (1988). Linked to BBC/PBS TV series.
  • Britannia Overruled: British Policy and World Power in the 20th Century (1991; 2nd edn 2000)
  • Allies at War: The Soviet, American and British Experience, 1939-45 - co-editors Warren F. Kimball and A.O. Chubarian (1994; Russian edition, 1995)
  • The Origins of the Cold War in Europe: International Perspectives - editor (1994)
  • Rich Relations: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942-1945 (1995) Awarded the US Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award, 1996
  • One World Divisible: A Global History since 1945 (2000)
  • From Munich to Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt's America and the Origins of the Second World War (2001)
  • In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (2004) Awarded the Wolfson History Prize, 2004
  • From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt and the International History of the 1940s (2006)
  • Summits: Six Meetings That Shaped the Twentieth Century (2007) - also translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Chinese. 
  • FDR's World: War, Peace, and Legacies - co-editors David B. Woolner and Warren F. Kimball (2008)
  • America, Empire of Liberty: A New History (2009)
  • The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century (2013) Awarded the Hessell-Tiltman Prize, 2014. Also translated into Chinese.
  • Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990 - co-editor Kristina Spohr (2016)
  • The Kremlin Letters: Stalin's Wartime Correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt, with Vladimir Pechatnov (2018)

Broadcasting (as writer and presenter)

  • Churchill's Forgotten Years (2005) - BBC 4/BBC 2
  • The Improbable Mr Attlee (2005) - BBC 4
  • Summits (2008) - three-part series BBC 4/BBC 2: Munich, 1938Vienna, 1961Geneva, 1985
  • Armistice (2008) - BBC 4/BBC 2 (Grierson Awards 2009: Nomination and runner-up for the Best Historical Documentary Award).  
  • America, Empire of Liberty - ninety-part series (2008-9) - BBC Radio 4. See series website at (Voice of the Listener and Viewer Award for the Best New Radio Programme of 2008; SONY Radio Academy Award, Nomination, 2009; Orwell Prize, Shortlist, 2010)
  • Nixon in the Den (2010) - BBC 4
  • World War Two - 1941 and the Man of Steel (2011) - BBC 4 (Grierson Awards, 2012: Nomination for Best Historical Documentary Award)
  • World War Two - 1942 and Hitler's Soft Underbelly (2012) - BBC 4
  • Long Shadow (2014) - three-part BBC 2 series about legacies of the Great War: Remembering and Understanding; Ballots and Bullets; Us and Them
  • World War Two - 1945 and the Wheelchair President (2015) - BBC 4
  • Verdun: The Sacred Wound (2016) - 2-part series for BBC Radio 4 (The Battle; Loss and Legacy)
  • Balfour's Promised Land (2017) - BBC Radio 4 documentary for the centenary of the Balfour Declaration