Karen Armstrong spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun, an experience she recollected in her two volumes of best-selling autobiography, THROUGH THE NARROW GATE and BEGINNING THE WORLD. She is the author of the world-wide best-seller, A HISTORY OF GOD (which has now appeared in more than thirty languages), the acclaimed HISTORY OF JERUSALEM and, moRE recently, THE BATTLE FOR GOD. She is a teacher at the Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism and, in 1999, she received the Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award.
Michael Asher served in the Parachute Regiment and SAS. A fluent Arab speaker, he has lived for years among the Bedouin peoples. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, his published books include SHOOT TO KILL (1990), THESIGER: A BIOGRAPHY (1994) and an acclaimed biography of Lawrence of Arabia. His THE REAL BRAVO TWO ZERO (2002) was a Sunday Times Top 10 best seller.
Robert Baer spent 21 years in the CIA as a field operative. He resigned after leading an aborted attempt on Saddam Hussein. He is the author of four NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers. His memoir SEE NO EVIL was made into the Academy Award-winning movie SYRIANA. He anchored an Emmy-nominated British documentary series, THE CULT OF THE SUICIDE BOMBER. He is the intelligence columnist for TIME.com and a regular BBC and CNN contributor. He currently lectures various US government agencies on assassination.
Nicola Baird is a writer of books, blogs and journalism covering eco know-how, parenting and travel.
Richard Baldwin is a Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, and Founder of the economic policy portal VoxEU.org. In addition to his research and teaching, he advises governments and international organisations around the world on globalisation and trade policy issues. In 1990-91 he served as a Senior Staff Economist for US President George Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, having completed his PhD in economics at MIT with Paul Krugman (with whom he has published a half dozen articles). His latest book, The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalisation, was published by Harvard University Press in November 2016.
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942, educated in Rome and made his piano debut at the age of eight and as a solo pianist at the age of eleven with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. His musical tours have taken him all over the world and he has made regular appearances at the Bayreuth, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Prague and Salzburg festivals. In 1967 he married the cellist Jacqueline du Pré (who died in 1987). In 1988 he married Elena Bashkirova. He was musical director of the Paris Orchestra 1975-88, and he has been Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1991 and of the Berlin State Opera since 1992.
Correlli Barnett is the author of many distinguished books, among them The Desert Generals, The Sword Bearers and The Collapse of British Power. Since 1977 he has been Keeper of the Churchill Archives Centre and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. From 1973 to 1985 he was also a member of Council of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature and of the Royal Historical Society.
Alex Beard has worked in education for a decade. After starting out as an English teacher in an inner-city comprehensive, he completed his MA at the Institute of Education before joining Teach For All, a growing network of independent organisations working to ensure that all children everywhere can fulfil their potential. He's fortunate to spend much of his time searching the world for the most promising educational practices and sharing his learning with teachers, school leaders and policymakers in forty-six countries. He's so far visited schools in half of them. NATURAL BORN LEARNERS is his first book.
Antony Beevor is the author of CRETE: The Battle and the Resistance (Runciman Prize), STALINGRAD (Samuel Johnson Prize, Wolfson Prize for History and Hawthornden Prize), BERLIN: The Downfall, THE BATTLE FOR SPAIN (Premio La Vanguardia), D-DAY: The Battle for Normandy (Prix Henry Malherbe and the RUSI Westminster Medal), THE SECOND WORLD WAR, ARDENNES 1944 (Prix Médicis shortlist) and ARNHEM: The Battle for the Bridges. The number one bestselling historian in Britain, Beevor's books have appeared in thirty-two languages and have sold just over seven million copies. A former chairman of the Society of Authors, he has received a number of honorary doctorates. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Kent and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London. He was knighted in 2017.
Rachel Bell was the series producer for BBC Bristol's Middle Classes and Aristocracy.
After serving in combat in submarines in WWII, Clay Blair was successively National Security correspondent for Time, Life and Saturday Evening Post. As well as his acclaimed naval histories, Blair is the biographer of Admiral Rickover, Generals MacArthur, Bradley and Ridgway. He lives with his wife in Wisconsin, USA.
John Browne (Lord Browne of Madingley) was born in Germany in 1948 and joined BP as a university apprentice in 1966. He was Group Chief Executive of BP from 1995 to 2007, where he built a reputation as a visionary leader and was regularly voted the most admired businessman by his peers. He was knighted in 1998 and made a life peer in 2001. He is now a managing partner of Riverstone LLC, an international energy private equity firm, a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK), President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the Tate Gallery.
William H. Calvin
William H. Calvin is a theoretical neurobiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of eleven books, including THE CEREBRAL CODE, THE RIVER THAT FLOWS UPHILL and HOW THE BRAIN THINKS.
Ben Chu is the Economics Editor of the INDEPENDENT. He was born and brought up in Manchester, and studied Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford.
Alan Clark, educated at Eton and Oxford, read for the Bar but did not practise. He was the Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton (1972-1992) and for Kensington and Chelsea (1997-1999). He held various junior ministerial appointments in the Margaret Thatcher and John Major governments. He kept a regular diary, which was published in three volumes as IN POWER 1983-1992, INTO POLITICS 1972-1982 and THE LAST DIARIES 1993-1999. They were adapted for television by the BBC and shown in 2004. Clark died in 1999 of a brain tumour.
Colonel Richard Connaughton spent two years as Head of the British Army's Defence Studies, the culmination of a twenty-two year career in the army, retiring in 1992. He now undertakes studies in the politico-military field on an international basis for client governments and the military, and has an intimate knowledge of military and special forces' involvement in the trouble spots of recent years. He has a fierce but charming intellect.
Gordon Corera is a journalist and writer on intelligence and security issues. Since 2004 he has been a Security Correspondent for BBC News where he covers terrorism, cyber security, the work of intelligence agencies and other national security issues for BBC TV, Radio and Online. He has reported from across the United States, Asia, Africa and the Middle East and presented a number of programmes focusing on intelligence agencies including MI6, MI5, GCHQ, the CIA, NSA and Mossad. He is the author of SECRET PIGEON SERVICE, INTERCEPT, THE ART OF BETRAYAL (entitled MI6 in paperback), and SHOPPING FOR BOMBS.
Ruth Cowen is a journalist, author, editor and researcher. She has written for all the major newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, Financial Times, The Independent, the Guardian, the Daily and Sunday Express and the Evening Standard. She has also written a number of award-winning documentaries for BBC Radio 4.
Azad is a 34-year-old British national from a Kurdish background. Based in London and Brussels, Azad grew up in Iran, where he was conscripted into the army and escaped to the UK. Aged 19, he was granted asylum and citizenship, learnt English and began working as a journalist for the Kurdish diaspora media. In 2011, Azad was working for a television station in Stockholm when the Syrian civil war broke out and the Kurds established their autonomous enclave. Azad's response was to fly out to Syria and work as a social worker, but as the civil war expanded he became a fighter in the volunteer army, the YPG, our allies in the 62 country anti-ISIS coalition.
Jared Diamond is Professor of Physiology at the Medical School of the University of California, Los Angeles. Trained in phsyiology, he later took up the study of ecology and has made fundamental contributions to both disciplines. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee (which won the British Science Book Prize in 1992) and Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the last 13,000 Years, also a winner in 1998.