I studied history and politics at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of the University of London in the early 1990s, graduating with an MA in 1994. Since then, I have studied at the universities of Düsseldorf and Strathclyde, cunningly avoiding gaining a PhD at either.
I began my writing career working for Professor Norman Davies, collaborating with him on many of his recent publications, including “Europe: A History”, “The Isles: A History”, and “Rising '44”. This working relationship culminated in 2002 with the publication, in three languages, of a co-authored study of the history of the city of Wrocław (the former German Breslau) entitled “Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City”.
2006 saw the publication of my first solo book: “Killing Hitler”, an account of the numerous attempts on Hitler's life. It was a critical and commercial success and has been published in numerous other languages, including German, Spanish, Chinese, Italian and Japanese.
My next book “Berlin at War” was published in 2010. A social history of Berlin during World War Two, it is based on first-hand material such as unpublished diaries, memoirs and interviews, and gives a unique "Berlin-eye view" of the war. It has been well-received, with positive reviews in most major publications. Writing in the Financial Times, Andrew Roberts said of it that: "Few books on the war genuinely increase the sum of our collective knowledge of this exhaustively covered period, but this one does." “Berlin at War” was shortlisted for the Hessell-Tiltman Prize in 2011.
My new book, published in August 2014, is “The Devils' Alliance”, a history of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, one of the few remaining unexplored areas in the history of World War Two. Published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Pact's signature, it was described by one reviewer as “grim and compelling”.
I live in Buckinghamshire, and I do all my own ironing.