About author
A historian, a writer, an authority on Central and Eastern Europe, a music buff, a collector, a true Renaissance Man - Prof. Norman Davies is an outstanding academic respected worldwide for his many books about history. He is also an organiser and a participant of many initiatives and debates, often addressing the most critical questions affecting today’s world. At the same time he is a very warm and approachable person. Want to know more? Watch this space!

Prof. Norman Davies has received many prestigious honours for his academic work, including honorary doctorates and honorary citizenships. In particular, he has received state honours from Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Poland. However he is also much respected for his active and long-standing involvement in diverse projects or initiatives which extend considerably beyond the confines of formal academia.

Books are not everything - there are now many different ways in which knowledge can and should be imparted, thereby creating a rich collection of complementary sources. We therefore invite you to visit our ever expanding multimedia library of highly interesting films, pictures, and articles.

Pictures have become an integral part of the way we document our history - for ourselves, for others, for posterity, or simply out of pure enjoyment. This website shows the book covers of Norman Davies’s published works, but also some of the most interesting photographs from his private albums. 

History is, of course, Norman Davies’s foremost passion, but he has always pursued other interests with equal energy, particularly artistic and musical ones. He is a true Renaissance Man: in his free time he enjoys collecting  old postcards, reads poetry (especially that of Dante Alighieri), likes to relax by playing the accordion, avidly watches snooker games (his father, Richard Davies, was a particularly gifted amateur player who won numerous prizes), and he is an ardent, lifelong supporter of Bolton Wanderers football team. His frequent travels around the world, as an author and an academic, provide him with the opportunity to discover more for himself about the people and places he visits. 

Very often we ourselves are the best biographers, and our most honest critics – are those closest to us. Prof. Davies’s family and friends are an important part of his life. So we let them speak freely and candidly about him in the book  "70. A Birthday Book for Norman Davies".



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Ann Armstrong - sister 

By the time I was 18, I had an adventurous, academic, argumentative brother, who with school pals, drove a jeep across Europe to Istanbul. He has been exploring the world ever since… He should be indebted to his supportive parents and inspiring teachers. 

Christian Davies - son

He is an armadillo. 


Graham F. Chesters - friend from Bolton School

Studies apart, it was in sport that Norman flourished. Although never a free scoring Gerrard or Lampard, as evidenced by four goals in three seasons, Norman was both "an intelligent defender" and "very constructive"... "a tireless player" and "clever interceptor who kept a grip on midfield".


Alan Bennett - dramatist, Norman's tutor in 1959

What Norman doesn't remember is that, however punctual he and his colleagues were, they would invariably arrive late. This was because I kept my clock ten minutes fast as from bitter experience I always ran out of anything to say well before the end of the tutorial. They must have known but nothing was ever said. 

John Lello - Norman's tutor in 1960-61

Years after, I was teaching in the Cambridge Department of Education and Norman somehow rooted me out in the Spread Eagle. It was a though nothing had really changed since those bubbling days in Oxford and we immediately started to talk about his latest obsession but these time it was about Poland as well as football. 


Andrzej Findeisen - freelance publisher

Obviously, Norman does not limit himself to Polish history. In his history of Europe, he put forwad a concept that was wholly news to Western readers – Europe does not just consist of Anglo-Saxo countries and does not end in Germany or on the Oder. He demolishes the foreigners’ misconceptions about Europe as well. 

Jacek Federowicz - broadcaster

Norman Davies is hopelessly behind the times. In the computer era he sticks to his ballpoint pen and leaves sheaves of  paper with scribbling that have to be subsequently copied. He writes too much. Instead of writing one book and then focusing on accepting honorary degrees from various universities, Davies writes a few books per year and publishes them to boot. 

Irene Tomaszewski 
co-organiser of summer school
"Poland in the Rockies"

Gracious, modest, tireless, brilliant – he won our hearts and stretched our minds, joked with us and sang with us, hiked with us and swam with us... And at all times, he was interested in us. Thank you, Professor Davies and please come back. Again and again and again.

Ian Howie-Willis 
founder of notional "Norman Davies Fan Club"

One day at our house Norman was working his way through The Australian Hymn Book, playing the tunes he learned sixty years ago in the Congregational Church in Bolton. We were sitting together, belting out an old favourite while Margaret and Myszka were preparing dinner in the next room. "Norman may be a catholic convert," Myszka observed wryly, ”but he still has a Protestant heart.'” 


 Sir Alistair Horne - author and benefactor

One thing that particularly appealed to me about Norman was his feistiness towards his literary masters. A mutual admirer remarks, in a context of respect, 'he's the only person I know who would cross the road for a fight!' All too many of us are prepared to grovel to get our books published. Not Norman. Always a perfectionist, he would demand the same high standards of his publishers. 

Radek Sikorski
Poland's Minister for Foreign Affairs

Norman Davies's adventure with history transcends a sculptor's vision and macro-analytical interpretations... He is one of the best exponents of Polish concerns, of Polish history seen as a moral lesson. The value of [his] work lies in the fact that it not only explains Poland's past against a beautifully constructed artistic background but also allows us to ask the following questions openly - what kind of states could Poles aspire to in the past and what can we aspire to now?

Henryk Wozniakowski 
Chairman of Znak Publishers

Norman Davies's lordship over time is perhaps most evident in how he selects, and elevates to prominence, subjects which, to quote Ortega y Gasset, “match the times”... 

Sir Michael Pakenham 
former British Ambassador in Warsaw

In Kraków a crowd gathered to greet and ogle the Prince of Wales, on his official visit to the city. Outside the British Council on the Rynek Glowny, I am accosted by a young student. "Why are all these people gathered here?" "Because a British leader is visiting the city." "Ah, so Norman Davies is back then."

Rafal Dutkiewicz - President of Wroclaw 

Some time ago, I visited the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso to tell him of our progress on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Mr. Barroso was, however, rather bored, or maybe just tired. Neither my jokes nor anything I said could  bring him out of this state. Only when I presented to him Professor Davies’ Microcosm did he smile and become more animated. "I know Norman Davies, I mean I know his book about Europe... And he wrote a book about your city? I do appreciate your visit. What do we have to discuss?"

Georgina Morley
publisher at Pan-Macmillan Books

Norman is quite possibly – no, let's be honest – he is the most provoking, even the most combative author with whom I've ever worked,but he's also one of the most brilliant. Without him, I might have gone on thinking that the Plantagenet kings of England were English, that D-Day was the greatest battle of the Second World War and that there was nothing the West could have done to save Poland from the depredations first of the Nazis and then of the Soviets. And seeing 4,000 people queue on a blistering summer’s say in Warsaw to meet an author and have him sign their copies of his book does an editor’s heart good.