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Sir William Robert Ferdinand Mount, 3rd Baronet, FRSL (born 2 July 1939), is a British writer, novelist and columnist for The Sunday Times as well as a political commentator.


Ferdinand Mount attended Greenways and Sunningdale School before Eton College after which he went to Christ Church, Oxford. Mount worked at Conservative Party HQ as Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit during 1982–83, when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister[1][2] and played a significant part in devising the 1983 general election manifesto.

Sir Ferdinand, as he is formally styled, is regarded as being on the one nation or "wet" side of the Conservative Party: he succeeded his uncle, Sir William Mount, in the family title as 3rd baronet in 1993, but prefers to remain known as Ferdinand Mount.[3]

For eleven years (1991–2002) he was editor of the Times Literary Supplement,[4] and then became a regular contributor to Standpoint magazine. He wrote for The Sunday Times, and in 2005 joined The Daily Telegraph as a commentator.[4] He writes for the London Review of Books.[5]

Mount has written novels, including a six-volume novel sequence called Chronicle of Modern Twilight, centring on a low-key character, Gus Cotton; the title alludes to the sequence A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight by Henry Williamson, and another sequence entitled Tales of History and Imagination. Volume 5 entitled 'Fairness' was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2001.

Sir Ferdinand serves as Chairman of the Friends of the British Library[6] and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) in 1991.


The only son of Robert Mount and Lady Julia Pakenham, youngest daughter of the 5th Earl of Longford, KP, Ferdinand inherited the baronetcy from his uncle Lt-Col. Sir William Mount, Bt, TD, DL, who died in 1993, having had issue three daughters, including Mrs Mary Cameron, JP (b. 1934), mother of David Cameron, former Prime Minister (and Conservative Party leader).[1][7]

Sir Ferdinand and his wife, Julia née Lucas, live in Islington; he and Lady Mount have three surviving children, William (b. 1969 and heir apparent to the title), Harry (b. 1971, a journalist) and Mary (b. 1972, an editor) who is married to Indian writer Pankaj Mishra.


  • Very Like a Whale (1967), novel
  • The Theatre of Politics (1972),
  • The Man Who Rode Ampersand (1975), novel, (Chronicle of Modern Twilight – 1)
  • The Clique (1978), novel
  • The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage (1982)
  • The Practice of Liberty (1986), novel
  • The Selkirk Strip (1987), novel, (Chronicle of Modern Twilight – 2)
  • Of Love and Asthma (1991), novel, (Chronicle of Modern Twilight – 3), Winner of the Hawthornden Prize 1992
  • Communism: A Times Literary Supplement Companion (1992), editor
  • The British Constitution Now: Recovery or Decline? (1992)
  • The Recovery of the Constitution (Sovereignty Lectures) (1992)
  • Umbrella: A Pacific Tale (1994), novel, (Tales of History and Imagination – 1)
  • The Liquidator (1995), novel, (Chronicle of Modern Twilight – 4)
  • Jem (and Sam): A Revenger's Tale (1999), novel, (Tales of History and Imagination – 2)
  • Fairness (2001), novel, (Chronicle of Modern Twilight – 5)
  • Mind the Gap: Class in Britain Now (2004)
  • Heads You Win (2004), novel, (Chronicle of Modern Twilight – 6)
  • Private Life 21st Century (2006)
  • The Condor's Head (2007), novel
  • Cold Cream: My Early Life and Other Mistakes (2009), memoir
  • Full Circle: How the Classical World Came Back to Us, Simon & Schuster, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84737-798-2
  • The New Few: Power and Inequality in Britain Now or A Very British Oligarchy (2012)
  • The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India 1805–1905 (2015)
  • Prime Movers: From Pericles to Gandhi (2018)

See alsoEdit

Insignia of baronet


  1. ^ a b Moss, Stephen (19 November 2010). "Lord Young has found that soundbites sometimes bite back". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  2. ^ MacLeod, Alexander (1 December 1982). "Mrs. Thatcher sets up her own advisory team". The Christian Science Monitor.
  3. ^ Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 2801 (MOUNT, Bt). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  4. ^ a b Tryhorn, Chris (1 March 2005). "Ferdinand Mount joins Telegraph". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  5. ^ E.g., * Ferdinand Mount, "Why We Go to War", London Review of Books, vol. 41, no. 11 (6 June 2019), pp. 11–14. "[H]istorians have tended to weave their narratives around [...] high-flown themes: the struggle to maintain the balance of power, the struggles against fascism and communism, against the French Revolution or German militarism. In reality, most large wars have contained within them a violent and persistent economic conflict. [p. 12.] Not for one second do [the U.K.'s Brexiteers] pause to think how hard-won [Europe's economic integration and peace, within the European Union, have] been. They are the feckless children of seventy years of peace." [p. 14.]
  6. ^
  7. ^ Bell, Matthew (28 November 2010). "Still talking turkey". The Independent. Retrieved 11 December 2010.

External linksEdit