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Armand D'Angour, Peter Frankopan etc

Portraits: The Forgotten Individuals Who Shaped History

The Engelsberg Ideas Portraits series gives pride of place to the secondary figures who make the wheels of history whir and thrum.

They include Churchill s half-forgotten right-hand man, a leading light of the Parisian Belle Epoque lost to history, and an early space pioneer virtually unknown outside of his native Russia. History belongs not only to the popularly renowned but also to the other figures, the men and women who found their energies suddenly borne along by events or who made a unique contribution to the great debates of their time. Throughout the series, leading writers show us how individuals shaped the world as we know it, examining their successes as much as their failures and delusions. The Anglo-German novelist W.G. Sebald wrote at the turn of our century that everything is constantly lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life. In these portraits we find the dim traces left by interesting lives lived and conscientiously restore them, so that they gleam once more, bright and alive in the present.

Press contact:
Hedvig Andersson


Alastair Benn is deputy editor of Engelsberg Ideas.

Iain Martin is a British political commentator and author.

Mattias Hessérus is a historian and Director of Civilisation Studies at the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation.


Adrian Wooldridge is The Economist’s political editor and writes the Bagehot column.

Alexander Lee is a research fellow at the University of Warwick and a specialist in the cultural and political history of the Renaissance in Italy.
Andrew Wilton was formerly Keeper of British Art at the Tate Gallery and subsequently Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain.
Armand D’Angour is a Professor of Classics at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.

Graham Stewart is a Senior Research Fellow in 20th Century British History at the University of Buckingham, the political editor of The Critic, and is the official historian of The Times newspaper.

Jessica Frazier is a lecturer at Oxford University and the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.

Lawrence Freedman was Professor of War Studies at King’s College London from 1982 to 2014 and vice principal from 2003 to 2013.

Matthew Goodwin is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent, and Associate Fellow at Chatham House.

Paul Lay


Paul Lay is the Literary Editor of The Critic and author of Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate.

Peter Frankopan is Professor of Global History at the University of Oxford, where he is Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research and a senior research fellow at Worcester College.

Rana Mitter, OBE FBA, is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a fellow of St Cross College, at the University of Oxford.

Rob Johnson is the senior research fellow of Pembroke College, associate of the Department of Politics and International Relations and director of the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre, at the University of Oxford.

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