Open main menu

John Bew (historian)

John Bew is Professor in History and Foreign Policy at King's College London[1] and from 2013 to 2014 held the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the John W. Kluge Center.[2] His most recent book is about Realpolitik: A History in 2016 published by Oxford University Press.[3]

In 2019, Bew joined the Number 10 Policy Unit under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.[4]


John Bew is the son of Paul Bew, Professor of Irish Politics at Queen's University Belfast and his wife Greta Jones, a history professor at the University of Ulster.[5]

From 2007 to 2010, Bew was Lecturer in Modern British History, Harris Fellow and Director of Studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge University, where he was previously a Junior Research Fellow. He completed his education at Pembroke College, Cambridge where he was a Foundation Scholar and a Thornton Scholar and attained a first class BA in History. He won the Member's Prize for the best MPhil in Historical Studies, before completing his doctoral dissertation 'Politics, identity and the shaping of Unionism in the north of Ireland, from the French Revolution to the Home Rule Crisis' in 2006.

He is a contributing writer to the New Statesman and the author of several books, including the acclaimed Realpolitik: A History (2016) and Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny, published in by Quercus in the UK in 2011 and by Oxford University Press in the United States the following year.[6]

Bew's original work on Castlereagh formed the basis for a 2013 BBC NI documentary that he presented.[7]

Citizen Clem,[8] published in 2016 was named a 'book of the year' in The Times, Sunday Times, Evening Standard, Spectator and New Statesman and received excellent reviews in The Guardian, Observer, Literary Review and London Review of Books.[9] It was also awarded the 2017 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography and 2017 Orwell Prize. Phillip Collins, The Times, described it as 'The best book in the field of British politics'.[10]

In 2015, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Politics and International Relations. He also heads London think-tank Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World Project, launched by the UK Secretary of State for Defence in March 2016, and coordinates its work on foreign policy. His most recent book is about Realpolitik: A History in 2016 published by Oxford University Press.[11][12][13]

He is an avid fan of Manchester United FC and used to play non-league football for Milton Rovers FC.


  1. ^ "Professor John Bew". King's College London. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  2. ^ "John Bew". John W. Kluge Center. Library of Congress.
  3. ^ John Bew. Realpolitik: A History (2016). Oxford University Press.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Richards, Huw (9 March 2004). "Paul Bew: Belfast's history man". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Kampfner, John (4 September 2016). "Citizen Clem by John Bew review – exemplary biography". The Observer. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  9. ^ John Bew - Citizen Clem - Quercus.
  10. ^ "Citizen Clem | Guardian Bookshop". Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  11. ^ John Bew. Realpolitik: A History (2016). Oxford University Press.
  12. ^ Kelly, Duncan. "'Realpolitik: A History', by John Bew". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  13. ^ Ledger, Robert (16 March 2016). "Book Review: Realpolitik: A History by John Bew". London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 20 February 2017.