I was born in October 1974 in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. I went to Birchfield School, just outside Wolverhampton, and then to Malvern College. It was there that I made an ignominious TV debut on the cult quiz show Blockbusters, where I completed one Gold Run before being humiliated in the next round.
In 1993 I went up to Balliol College, Oxford, where I read History and French and won the James Gay and Kirk-Greene Prizes. I spent a year as a language assistant in Provence, studied for a Masters in history at the University of St Andrews, and then went to Jesus College, Cambridge, for my PhD, which won the Sara Norton Prize.
My first job was as a lecturer in history at the University of Sheffield, where I taught for three years before becoming a professional writer. I have twice been a senior fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford, and in 2012 was invited to become a Visiting Professor at King’s College London.
I began my academic career as a specialist in modern American history. My first book, which evolved out of my PhD thesis, was a biography of Senator Eugene McCarthy, the Democratic politician who challenged President Johnson in 1968 over the issue of the Vietnam War. Some years later I published a second book on American history, Mad As Hell, looking at the United States during the mid-to-late 1970s.
I am probably best known, however, for my series of books exploring British history since the 1950s. I began work on this project at the turn of the millennium and have so far published four books, taking the story up to the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
The first volume, Never Had It So Good, covers the late 1950s and early 1960s. The second book, White Heat, looks at Britain in the heyday of the 1960s, and was later used as the background for a BBC drama. The third and fourth volumes, State of Emergency and Seasons in the Sun, explore British history in the 1970s, and were adapted for television as the BBC documentary series The 70s.
The fifth volume in the sequence, which will cover the first half of the 1980s, is provisionally entitled Who Dares Wins and is due to be published by Penguin in 2018.
My most recent book was The Great British Dream Factory. Published by Penguin in 2015, it explores the remarkable story of Britain's popular culture in the last century.
I have written for almost all the major British papers and magazines, as well as some American and international papers, but I now write exclusively for the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. In the past, I was a regular columnist for the Evening Standard and the New Statesman. I have written a monthly column for BBC History Magazine since 2006.
My television presenting career began with the four-part documentary series The 70s, which I wrote and presented for BBC Two in the spring of 2012. I have since made series about Britain in the Cold War (Strange Days), the history of science fiction (Tomorrow’s Worlds) and the history of Britain's modern popular culture (Let Us Entertain You), all for BBC Two. I have also made a programme about the German car industry (Das Auto).
My most recent TV series, The 80s, was shown on BBC Two in August 2016.
For BBC Radio 4, I have written and presented many programmes, including documentaries on the early days of radio, our obsession with anniversaries and the history of Prime Minister’s Questions, as well as a 15-part radio history of the Post Office, which has since been released as an audiobook.
I live in Oxfordshire with my wife and son. I am a supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Image: A portrait of the author as a young man: specifically, at the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, aged two-and-a-half.
© 2019 Dominic Sandbrook
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