Timothy Garton Ash

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Timothy Garton Ash
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{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2012}}{{Use British English|date=August 2012}}

| birth_place = LondonBritish people>British| alma_mater = University of Oxford}}Timothy Garton Ash CMG FRSA (born 12 July 1955) is a British historian, author and commentator. He is Professor of European Studies at Oxford University. Much of his work has been concerned with the late modern and contemporary history of Central and Eastern Europe.He has written about the Communist regimes of that region, their experience with the secret police, the Revolutions of 1989 and the transformation of the former Eastern Bloc states into member states of the European Union. He has examined the role of Europe and the challenge of combining freedom and diversity, especially in relation to free speech.


Garton Ash was born to John Garton Ash (1919-2014) and Lorna Judith Freke. His father was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and was involved in finance, as well as being a Royal Artillery officer in the British Army during the Second World War.NEWS,weblink John Garton Ash - obituary, The Telegraph, 12 January 2017, Garton Ash was educated at St Edmund's School, Hindhead, Surrey, before going on to Sherborne School, a well-known public school in Dorset in South West England, followed by Exeter College, Oxford where he studied Modern History.For post-graduate study, he went to St Antony's College, Oxford, and then, in the still divided Berlin, the Free University in West Berlin and the Humboldt University in East Berlin. During his studies in East Berlin, he was under surveillance from the Stasi, which served as the basis for his 1997 book The File.JOURNAL, Ash, Timothy, Timothy Garton Ash, 2007-05-31, The Stasi on Our Minds,weblink The New York Review of Books, 2014-11-17, Garton Ash cut a suspect figure to the Stasi, who regarded him as a "bourgeois-liberal" and potential British spy.NEWS,weblink Memoirs of an inadvertent spy, The Independent, 12 January 2017, Although he denies being or having been a British intelligence operative, Garton Ash described himself as a "soldier behind enemy lines" and described the German Democratic Republic as a "very nasty regime indeed."File:Pavel Žáček, Timothy Garton Ash ja Kristian Gerner.jpg|thumb|Pavel Žáček, Timothy Garton Ash and Kristian GernerKristian Gerner

Life and career

In the 1980s, Garton Ash was Foreign Editor of The Spectator and a columnist for The Independent. He became a Fellow at St Antony's College in 1989, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover InstitutionWEB,weblink Fellows: Timothy Garton Ash, Hoover Institution, 12 November 2011, in 2000, and Professor of European Studies at the University of OxfordWEB, Governing Body Fellows: Professor Timothy Garton Ash,weblink St. Anthony's College, 12 November 2011, in 2004. He has written a weekly column in The Guardian since 2004 and is a long-time contributor to the New York Review of Books.MAGAZINE, Timothy Garton Ash,weblink The New York Review of Books, 12 November 2011, His column is also translated in the Turkish daily Radikal and in the Spanish daily El País, as well as other papers.In 2005 Garton Ash was listed in Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people. There it is mentioned that "Shelves are where most works of history spend their lives. But the kind of history Garton Ash writes is more likely to lie on the desks of the world's decision makers."


Garton Ash describes himself as a liberal internationalist.NEWS,weblink Liberal internationalists have to own up: we left too many people behind, The Guardian, 12 September 2017, He is a supporter of what he calls the free world and liberal democracy, represented in his view by the European Union, the United States as a super-power, and Angela Merkel's leadership of Germany. Garton Ash opposed Scottish independence and argued for Britishness, writing in The Guardian: "... being British has changed into something worth preserving, especially in a world of migration where peoples are going to become ever more mixed up together. As men and women from different parts of the former British empire have come to live here in ever larger numbers, the post-imperial identity has become, ironically but not accidentally, the most liberal, civic, inclusive one."NEWS,weblink Independence for Scotland would not be good for England, The Guardian, 12 September 2017, Garton Ash first came to prominence during the Cold War as a supporter of free speech and human rights within countries which were part of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, paying particular attention to Poland and Germany. In more recent times he has represented a British liberal pro-EU viewpoint, nervous at the rise of Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Brexit. He is strongly opposed to conservative and populist leaders of EU nations such as Viktor Orbán of Hungary, arguing that Merkel should "freeze him out", evoking "appeasement."NEWS,weblink We know the price of appeasement. That’s why we must stand up to Viktor Orbán, The Guardian, 12 September 2017, Garton Ash was particularly upset about Orbán's move against George Soros' Central European University. Anti-Soviet themes and Poland remain topics of interest for Garton Ash; once a promoter of the anti-Eastern Bloc movement in Poland, he notes with regret the move away from liberalism and globalism towards populism and authoritarianism under socially conservative political and religious leaders such as JarosÅ‚aw KaczyÅ„ski, in a similar manner to his criticisms of Hungary's Orbán.NEWS,weblink The pillars of Poland’s democracy are being destroyed, The Guardian, 12 September 2017,

Personal life

Garton and his Polish-born wife Danuta live primarily in Oxford, England, and also near Stanford University in California as part of his work with the Hoover Institution.NEWS, Biography,weblink 12 November 2011,, They have two sons, Tom Ash, a web-developer based in Canada, and Alec Ash, a writer living in China. His older brother Christopher is a Church of England clergyman.{{Citation needed|reason=pointer to him (a) being a CoE clergyman and (b) a brother of Garton|date=June 2018}}


  • Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (Yale University Press, 2016) {{ISBN|9780300161168}}
  • Facts are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name (Atlantic Books, 2009) {{ISBN|1-84887-089-2}}
  • Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West (Random House, 2004) {{ISBN|1-4000-6219-5}}
  • History of the Present: Essays, Sketches, and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s (Allen Lane, 1999) {{ISBN|0-7139-9323-5}}
  • The File: A Personal History (Random House, 1997) {{ISBN|0-679-45574-4}}
  • In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (Random House, 1993) {{ISBN|0-394-55711-5}}
  • The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of 1989 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague (Random House, 1990) {{ISBN|0-394-58884-3}}
  • The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe (Random House, 1989) {{ISBN|0-394-57573-3}}
  • The Polish Revolution: Solidarity, 1980–82 (Scribner, 1984) {{ISBN|0-684-18114-2}}
  • Und willst du nicht mein Bruder sein ... Die DDR heute (Rowohlt, 1981) {{ISBN|3-499-33015-6}}

Awards and honours

See also


External links

{{Charlemagne Prize recipients}}{{Authority control}}

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