Martin Gilbert dies at 78; British historian wrote Churchill biography

Associated Press
Martin Gilbert, British historian known for eight-volume biography of Winston Churchill, dies at 78

Martin Gilbert, Winston Churchill's official biographer and a leading historian of the Holocaust, died Tuesday in London after a lengthy illness. He was 78.

British senior civil servant John Chilcot reported his death to a British parliamentary committee. Gilbert was a member of Chilcot's panel conducting an official investigation into Britain's role in the Iraq war.

Born Oct. 25, 1936, in London and educated at Oxford University, Gilbert wrote more than 80 books, including many with themes related to World War II. He is best known for his works on Churchill, which began when he worked with the prime minister's son, Randolph Churchill, on an official biography.

He continued for 20 years after Randolph Churchill died in 1968, completing an eight-volume biography and writing several other books about the statesman, including "Churchill: A Life; "Churchill: The Power of Words," and "Continue to Pester, Nag, and Bite: Churchill's War Leadership."

Gilbert also wrote eight books on the Holocaust, including "The Holocaust: A Jewish Tragedy" and "Auschwitz and the Allies," as well as "Israel: A History," and the three-volume "History of the 20th Century."

He once said his aim had been "to write history from the human perspective, never to neglect the person known as 'the common man."'

Gilbert was knighted in 1995 for his service to British history and international relations.

He is survived by his wife, Esther, and three children from two previous marriages.

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