Richard Charles Vinen (born 1963) is a British historian and academic who holds a professorship at King's College London. Vinen is a specialist in 20th-century European history, particularly of Britain and France.[1]


Born in 1963[2] in Birmingham, Vinen grew up on the Bournville Estate.[3] His father, Joe Vinen, was a professor of physics.[3][4][5] From 1982 to 1989, Richard Vinen attended Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985, and then completing his doctoral studies there;[6][7] his PhD was awarded in 1989 for his thesis "The politics of French Business 1936–1945",[8] supervised by Christopher Andrew.[9]

Vinen was a Fellow at Trinity from 1988 to 1992, and was a part-time lecturer at Queen Mary University of London from 1988 to 1991.[7] He eventually moved to London where he and his wife lived in a succession of louche locations early in his career. He has written that "the Serious Crime Squad once installed a camera in our bedroom so that they could keep an eye on one of our neighbours."[3] After lecturing at Queen Mary, he joined King's College London in 1991 as a lecturer; he was promoted to a readership in 2001, and was appointed Professor of History in 2007.[6][7]

Vinen's book National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945–1963 (2014) received generally positive reviews.[10][11] On 13 May 2015, he was presented with a Wolfson History Prize and Templer Medal for it.[12] He also won the Walter Laqueur Prize in 2012 (recognising the best article in Journal of Contemporary History of the previous year) for "The Poisoned Madeleine: The Autobiographical Turn in Historical Writing".[7][13] In 2018, Vinen delivered the Institute of Historical Research's Creighton Lecture on the topic "When was Thatcherism?".[14] In 2020, he was one of three historians invited to give the Historical Research Lecture; it was entitled "Writing histories of 2020".[15]



  1. ^ Professor Richard Vinen. King's College London. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  2. ^ Carl Levy, "1918–1945–1989: The Making and Unmaking of Stable Societies in Western Europe", in Carl Levy and Mark Roseman (eds), Three Postwar Eras in Comparison: Western Europe, 1918–1945–1989 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), p. 2.
  3. ^ a b c "National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945–1963, by Richard Vinen | Books". Times Higher Education. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Acknowledgements" in Richard Vinen, Thatcher's Britain: The Politics and Social Upheaval of the Thatcher Era (London: Pocket Books, 2013).
  5. ^ "Professor Frank William Vinen FRS CPhys Hon.FInstP (1930–2022)", Institute of Physics. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Professor Richard Vinen", King's College London. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "Richard Vinen Curriculum Vitae", Sciences Po (2015). Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  8. ^ "The politics of French Business 1936–1945", EThOS (British Library). Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  9. ^ Richard Vinen, The Politics of French Business, 1936–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. xiii.
  10. ^ "National Service: Conscription in Britain 1945–1963 by Richard Vinen, review: 'a little laborious'". Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  11. ^ Richard Davenport-Hines. "National Service: Conscription in Britain 1945–1963 by Richard Vinen – review | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  12. ^ "King's College London - Professor Richard Vinen wins Wolfson Prize and Templer Medal".
  13. ^ For the announcement, see Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 47, no. 3 (2012), p. 504. The article appeared in vol. 46, no. 3 (2011), pp. 531–554.
  14. ^ "Autumn lectures on Irish, Public, and Modern British history", On History (Institute of Historical Research), 9 November 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  15. ^ "The 2020 Historical Research lecture: Writing histories of 2020: First responses and early perspectives", Historical Research, vol. 93, no. 262 (2020), pp. 786–806.
  16. ^ Nord, Philip (1 January 1997). "Review of Bourgeois Politics in France, 1945-1951". French Politics and Society. 15 (1): 88–90. JSTOR 42844623.
  17. ^ Le Ber, Jocelyne (1 January 2008). "Review of The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation". Rocky Mountain Review. 62 (1): 92–94. JSTOR 20479508.