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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I played my last serious game of football at the age of 33, playing centre forward for Magdalen College. Ironically, I was in the best shooting form of my career, scoring no less than five golas. But it was in the year that I started to work in London, where my schedule made regular sport impractical.  In any case, my ankles were unwilling to take more punishment.  I reluctantly admitted that I had spent far too much time kicking a ball instead of cultivating my other interests. (Twenty years later I took my younger son to the scene of my five-goals spree. It was utterly changed. The lush, green grass of Magdalen’s old sportsground had gone. In its place rose the minarets and golden dome of Oxford’s New Islamic Centre.)

I first bought a ticket for a musical concert at the age of 15, when I travelled on my own on the bus to Manchester to hear the Halle Orchestra in a matinee performance at the Free Trade Hall.  I had entered myself for Music O-level, and the History of the Modern Classical repertoire formed one of the obligatory sections of the exam. My cousin Deidre was playing the oboe, and the programme included the Intermezzo rom Mascagni’s "Cavaleria Rusticana" and Tchaikovsky’s "Nutcracker Suite". I have been an avid aficionado of classical music ever since. 

In my schooldays I made several unsuccessful attempts to master a musical instrument.  Unfortunately, my nerves could not stand the screeches which emanated from the violin, and my clumsy fingers could not follow the instructions of my pitiless piano teacher, Miss Staton. For some reason, no-one advised me to try the trumpet or the guitar, with which I might have made a tolerable noise. Honour was saved, however, when I found that I could imitate my Uncle Don and play tunes on the piano by ear. Much later I saw an accordion in a pawn shop window, and taught myself to play it quite successfully. I play it when I need a rest from writing and when my wife has gone out.

Collecting stamps was no more fruitful than learning the violin. I was deeply interested for several years, struggling to bring order to my father’s collection. But I was unable to decide on which countries to concentrate, and was slowly paralysed by the impossible task of trying to collect everything. Yet eventually I resolved the dilemma by moving into postal history, especially of Eastern Europe. In 2008 I published a two-volume album of Poland’s modern history illustrated by old letters, postmarks, covers and postcards.

Which leaves the life long habit of rambling. As a teenager, I learned to navigate the Wild moors above Bolton in the rain and the fog, and the joy of solitude amidst the beauties and storms of nature have never left me. For a decade or so, deteriorating hips made walking as much a duty as a pleasure. But the miracles of modern surgery have restored full movement, and there’s nothing I love more than strolling with my wife along the promenade at Aberystwyth or Criccieth, or paddling through the surf along the beach at Tyrhenia with the sea breeze in my hair and the Isle of Elba in full view.