Biography

David Boyle is the author of a number of books about history, social change and the history of ideas and the future. His book Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life (Flamingo, 2003) helped put the search for authenticity on the agenda as a social phenomenon. Funny Money: In search of alternative cash (Flamingo, 1999) launched the time banks movement in the UK.

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He has written a number of well-received history books, including Blondel’s Song: the imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart (2005), Towards the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci and the race for America (2008), Alan Turing (2014) and Scandal: how they criminalised homosexuality (2015). Most of his books on current affairs have a historical edge, including Broke: how to survive the middle class crisis (2013) and Tickbox (2020).

He writes historical novels, including The Xanthe Schneider Enigma Files (2019) and Nor Shall My Sword Sleep (2020).

He has also stood for Parliament, and is co-director of the thinktank New Weather, policy director of Radix UK, an advisory council member of the Schumacher Centre for New Economics in Massachusetts, and a fellow at the New Economics Foundation. He has been at the heart of the effort to develop co-production and introduce time banks to Britain as a critical element of public service reform. He was the government’s independent reviewer on Barriers to Public Service Choice (2012-13).

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Books

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A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea
A Burning Sea

Articles

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Who Wins in a Struggle Between Oppenheimer and Turing?

Who Wins in a Struggle Between Oppenheimer and Turing?

I keep overhearing people debating between themselves the comparison of Robert Oppenheimer and Alan Turing, his British near contemporary - Turing was six years younger - who was the originator of modern computing.I feel as if this is also a debate that I ought to express an opinion on - ...
Peace on Earth: The Christmas Truce

Peace on Earth: The Christmas Truce

Nearly half a century after the events he witnessed in 1914, the novelist Henry Williamson fictionalised the Christmas truce in his novel A Fox Under My Cloak, describing crawling through No Man’s Land on Christmas night and hearing ‘Silent Night’ sung from the enemy trenches:“It was all so
The Day They Pardoned Turing

The Day They Pardoned Turing

“Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: 1 Statutory Pardon of Alan Mathison Turing.”Introduction to the ...
Inside an Enigma: Turing at Bletchley

Inside an Enigma: Turing at Bletchley

“It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”Winston Churchill’s speech on Russia, 1939It was the first action in the war at sea.  A few hours after the declaration of war between Germany, Britain and France, the German submarine U-30, under Captain Fritz-Julius Lemp, ...
The First Day of the Dunkirk Evacuation

The First Day of the Dunkirk Evacuation

King George VI and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, carrying their gas masks, went to a special service in Westminster Abbey. Churchill also arrived, explaining that he could only stay for ten minutes. The government had, in their very English way, managed to avoid an official day of ...
The Munich Agreement: Why the Struggle, Again?

The Munich Agreement: Why the Struggle, Again?

The immediate hook is the film of the Robert Harris novel, Munich: The Edge of War – and its obvious agenda to rescue Chamberlain for history. You will remember, especially if you have seen the film - which has been available on Netflix from last weekend - that Chamberlain’s 1938 Munich ...
Historical Heroes: Robert Oppenheimer

Historical Heroes: Robert Oppenheimer

"The atomic clock ticked faster and faster. We may anticipate a state of affairs in which two great powers will each be in a position to put an end to the civilisation and life of the other, though not without risking its own. We may be likened to two scorpions in a battle, each capable of ...

Book Reviews

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Winston Churchill: A Life in the News, by Richard Toye

Winston Churchill: A Life in the News, by Richard Toye

Go back for a moment to the 5 March 1942, with a cartoon in the left-leaning Daily Mirror by Philip Zec June 1929. It showed a torpedoed merchant seaman, clinging to wreckage, and included the caption: 'The price of petrol has been increased by one penny - official'.The cartoon was ...
Roman Briton, by David Boyle

Roman Briton, by David Boyle

David Boyle’s Roman Briton is the finale to the series of novellas about the famous British chieftain, Caractacus. Following the bloody defeat of his army, the novel sees him taken away from his homeland as a prisoner. His life and those of his people lie in grave danger. It will take all of ...
Agent in Berlin, by Alex Gerlis

Agent in Berlin, by Alex Gerlis

I’m not sure who it was that first used this particular formula for good historical fiction – and especially espionage fiction. The idea is that you choose a peculiarly mysterious or ambiguous moment in recent history and then you weave your plot around it.William Boyd did it very ...

The Newspaper Axis, by Kathryn A. Olmsted

You cannot seek to bribe nor twist - Thank God - the British journalist. But seeing what the man will do Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.That was Hilaire Belloc’s take on the British press and – although she has not quoted it – that appears to sum up the understanding of Kathryn ...
Oppenheimer, by David Boyle

Oppenheimer, by David Boyle

David Boyle, the author behind numerous well-received historical and historical fiction books, including Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma and Operation Primrose, brings us a thoughtful and detailed account of the father of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, and his connections to Edward ...
Royal Yachts Under Sail, by Brian Lavery

Royal Yachts Under Sail, by Brian Lavery

Royal yachts - like the word yacht in English - haven’t been with us forever. They both began during the English Civil War, and it was only when Charles II took to the sea himself - and loved it - that the whole business of royal yachts began.The first one was actually the Surprise, ...
Agent in the Shadows, by Alex Gerlis

Agent in the Shadows, by Alex Gerlis

Well, I don’t know about you, but I thought Jack Miller and Sophia von Naundorf had made it through to peacetime at the end of Agent in Peril.Not a bit of it – they still have their most exciting and dangerous mission before them, and what could be their most effective operation.But, ...

Author Interview

David Boyle
What first attracted you to the period or periods you work in?I have always been fascinated by King Arthur and the dark ages, since a trip to Glastonbury Abbey at the age of 11. That and the navy in the 20th century took me through my childhood. That would perhaps explain why I have been writing about Caractacus (in