John Bew

John Bew is a Professor in History and Foreign Policy at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.

John Bew is a Professor in History and Foreign Policy at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, where he leads a major new project called the Grand Strategy Programme. The core aim of the Grand Strategy Programme is knowledge transfer: to bring more historical and strategic expertise to statecraft, diplomacy and foreign policy. It will also investigate the origins and future of the idea of World Order, with the support of a grant from the Leverhulme Trust. 

In 2015, he was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Politics and International Studies, which ‘recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising’. In 2013-14, he was the youngest ever holder of the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy at the John W. Kluge Center at the US Library of Congress. In 2014-15, he held a Leverhulme Trust Scholarship in order to complete my history of the concept of realpolitik. He was formerly co-Director of International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, having arrived at King’s in 2010.

He is the author of five books and numerous academic articles, which are bound together by an interest in history and contemporary statecraft. His fifth book, Citizen Clem: A Life of Attlee (Riverrun and Oxford University Press), was published in September 2016 and has been described as ‘easily the best single-volume, cradle-to-grave life of Clement Attlee yet written’. His fourth book Realpolitik: A History, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2016, and was widely reviewed widely in the international media including the Financial Times, Prospect, New Statesman, National Interest, and Wall Street Journal, as well as the top peer-reviewed journals in the field.

His third book, Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War & Tyranny (Oxford University Press), was the lead review in the Times Literary Supplement, and a book of the year in The Wall Street Journal, The Spectator, Sunday Telegraph, Total Politics, and BBC Parliament’s Booktalk. Previous books include a co-written work, Talking to Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country (Columbia University Press, 2009), which was named in Foreign Policy magazine’s Global Thinkers Book Club and as the best in its category in the journal, Perspectives on Terrorism.

He is a contributing writer at the New Statesman, and cover the release of state papers for the Irish Times. He has also written for the Times Literary Supplement, American Interest, National Interest, New Republic, Literary Review, and History Today. He is currently working with the think tank Policy Exchange, where he is leading a new academic commission examining the question of Britain in the World. The project was launched by the UK Secretary of State for Defence in May 2016 and aims to bring more academic expertise into the policy making process.

From 2007-10, he 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 going on to complete his PhD in 2006.