Richard Charles Vinen 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.
Born in Birmingham, Vinen lived in the Bournville Estate. His father, Joe Vinen, was a professor of physics. From 1982 to 1989, he attended Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985, and then completing his doctoral studies there; his PhD was awarded in 1989 for his thesis "The politics of French Business 1936–1945", supervised by Christopher Andrew.
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. 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." 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.
Vinen's book National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945–1963 (2014) received generally positive reviews. On 13 May 2015, he was presented with a Wolfson History Prize and Templer Medal for it. 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". In 2018, Vinen delivered the Institute of Historical Research's Creighton Lecture on the topic "When was Thatcherism?". In 2020, he was one of three historians invited to give the Historical Research Lecture; it was entitled "Writing histories of 2020".