Matthew was born in El Salvador in 1970 to an expatriate family and while growing up lived in Britain, Norway and Barbados. He read English at Balliol College, University of Oxford, then worked in a number of roles in book publishing in London from salesman to commissioning editor.
His first book, published in 2000, was titled The Battle of Britain. Then followed Monte Cassino, which was published around the world and has now sold nearly half a million copies. Hell’s Gorge: The Battle to Build the Panama Canal was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and a Washington Post book of the year. The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire and War was an Economist and Guardian book of the year. Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Edgar Allan Poe Biography award. His most recent book tells the story of Willoughbyland, the forgotten seventeenth-century English colony in Surinam that was exchanged with the Dutch for New York. The Spectator described it as ‘a mini masterpiece.’
Matthew has contributed to TV and radio programs in the UK, Canada and the US and has lectured around the world, including at the Royal Geographical Society in London and the Explorers’ Club in New York. He has recently been elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
When not writing/staring out of the window, he loves making sushi, pubs, growing stuff and visiting remote places.
He lives in East London with his wife, three children and annoying dog.