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Ben Macintyre
Born Benedict Richard Pierce MacIntyre
25 December 1963 (1963-12-25) (age 59)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Occupation Columnist, author
Nationality British

Benedict Richard Pierce Macintyre (born 25 December 1963) is a British author, historian, reviewer and columnist for The Times newspaper. His columns range from current affairs to historical controversies.

Early life

Macintyre is the elder son of Angus Donald Macintyre (d. 1994), Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford (elected Principal of Hertford College, Oxford before his death in a car accident), author of the first scholarly work on the Irish nationalist Daniel O'Connell, general editor of the Oxford Historical Monographs series from 1971 to 1979, editor of The English Historical Review from 1978 to 1986, and Chairman of the Governors of Magdalen College School from 1987 to 1990, and Joanna, daughter of Sir Richard Musgrave Harvey, 2nd Baronet and a descendant of Berkeley Paget. His paternal grandmother was a descendant of James Netterville, 7th Viscount Netterville.

Macintyre was educated at Abingdon School and St John's College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in history in 1985.


Macintyre is the author of a book on the gentleman criminal Adam Worth, The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief.

He also wrote The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan (about Josiah Harlan). This was also published as Josiah the Great: The True Story of the Man who Would be King. Harlan is one of the candidates presumed to be the basis for Rudyard Kipling's short story The Man Who Would Be King.

His book on Eddie Chapman, a double agent of Germany and Britain during the Second World War, was titled Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman: Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy.

In 2008, Macintyre wrote an illustrated account of Ian Fleming, creator of the fictional spy James Bond, to accompany the For Your Eyes Only, Ian Fleming and James Bond exhibition at London's Imperial War Museum, which was part of the Fleming Centenary celebrations.

Macintyre's 2020 book Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy, a biography of Soviet agent Ursula Kuczynski, was featured on BBC Radio 4 as a Book of the Week.

In 2021, Operation Mincemeat, a cinematic adaptation of Macintyre's 2010's homonymous book, subtitled The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II, premiered in Australia's British Film Festival, and was released to the public in 2022.

Personal life

He has three children and is divorced from the writer and documentary maker Kate Muir.


Five of his books have been made into documentaries for the BBC:

  • Operation Mincemeat (2010),
  • Double Agent: The Eddie Chapman Story (2011),
  • Double Cross – The True Story of the D Day Spies (2012)
  • Kim Philby – His Most Intimate Betrayal (2014).
  • SAS: Rogue Warriors (2017).

Awards and honours

  • 1998 Edgar Award shortlist for The Napoleon of Crime
  • 1998 Macavity Award shortlist for The Napoleon of Crime
  • 2007 Costa Book Awards, biography, shortlist for Agent Zigzag
  • 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards, biography, shortlist for Agent Zigzag
  • 2010 Galaxy British Book Awards, Popular Non-fiction, shortlist for Operation Mincemeat
  • 2011 Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature, shortlist for Operation Mincemeat
  • 2012 Agatha Award, Non-fiction, shortlist for A Spy Among Friends
  • 2013 Edgar Award shortlist for Double Cross
  • 2014 Spear's Book Award, winner for A Spy Among Friends
  • 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize, shortlist for The Spy and the Traitor

See also

  • List of Old Abingdonians
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