Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings FRSL FRHistS (; born 28 December 1945) is a British journalist and military historian, who has worked as a foreign correspondent for the BBC, editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, and editor of the Evening Standard. He is also the author of numerous books, chiefly on defence matters, which have won several major awards. Hastings currently writes a bimonthly column for Bloomberg Opinion.
Hastings' parents were Macdonald Hastings, a journalist and war correspondent and Anne Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper's Bazaar. He was educated at Charterhouse and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year.
Hastings moved to the United States, spending a year (1967–68) as a Fellow of the World Press Institute, following which he published his first book, America, 1968: The Fire This Time, an account of the US in its tumultuous election year. He became a foreign correspondent and reported from more than sixty countries and eleven wars for BBC1's Twenty-Four Hours current affairs programme and for the Evening Standard in London.
Hastings was the first journalist to enter Port Stanley during the 1982 Falklands War. After ten years as editor and then editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, he returned to the Evening Standard as editor in 1996 until his retirement in 2002. Hastings was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2002 Birthday Honours for services to journalism. He was elected a member of the political dining society known as The Other Club in 1993.
He has presented historical documentaries for the BBC and is the author of many books, including Bomber Command, which earned the Somerset Maugham Award for non-fiction in 1980. Both Overlord and The Battle for the Falklands won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year prize. He was named Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year at the 1982 British Press Awards, and Editor of the Year in 1988. In 2010 he received the Royal United Services Institute's Westminster Medal for his "lifelong contribution to military literature", and the same year the Edgar Wallace Award from the London Press Club.
In 2012, he was awarded the US$100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, a lifetime achievement award for military writing, which includes an honorarium, citation and medallion, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation. Hastings is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Historical Society. He was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England from 2002 to 2007.
In his 2007 book Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45 (known as Retribution in the United States), the chapter on Australia's role in the last year of the Pacific War was criticised by the chief of the Returned and Services League of Australia and one of the historians at the Australian War Memorial, for allegedly exaggerating discontent in the Australian Army. Dan van der Vat in The Guardian called it "even-handed", "refreshing" and "sensitive" and praised the language used. The Spectator called it "brilliant" and praised his telling of the human side of the story.
Hastings wrote a column for the Daily Mail and often contributes articles to other publications such as The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The New York Review of Books. He also currently writes a bimonthly column for Bloomberg Opinion.
Hastings lives near Hungerford, Berkshire with his second wife, Penelope (née Levinson), whom he married in 1999. Hastings has a surviving son and daughter by his first wife, Patricia Edmondson, to whom he was married from 1972 until 1994. In 2000, his 27-year-old first son, Charles, took his own life in Ningbo, China. He dedicated his book Nemesis: The Battle for Japan 1944–45 which was published in 2007 to his son's memory.
Hastings has supported both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. He announced his support for the Conservative Party at the 2010 general election, having previously voted for the Labour Party at the 1997 and 2001 general elections. He claimed that "four terms are too many for any government" and described Gordon Brown as "wholly psychologically unfit to be Prime Minister".
In August 2014, Hastings was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
In June 2019, Hastings described the Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson as "unfit for national office, because it seems he cares for no interest save his own fame and gratification...[his] premiership will almost certainly reveal a contempt for rules, precedent, order and stability...If the price of Johnson proves to be Corbyn, blame will rest with the Conservative party, which is about to foist a tasteless joke upon the British people – who will not find it funny for long."
In his Bloomberg column on 14 February 2021, Hastings claimed that the United Kingdom's future was unlikely to be long-term. He advocated a United Ireland, but said he was against Scottish and Welsh independence. Hastings was widely criticised for claiming in the article that the Welsh language was of "marginal value" and that Wales could not succeed as an independent country because it was "dependent on English largesse". Huw Edwards pointed out several factual errors in Hastings' points, while Fergus Llewelyn Turtle responded: "For the non-English part of the UK that is ... the most integrated with England, it's pretty astonishing how many English commentators have exactly zero political clue about Wales."
In 2021, Hastings wrote that the prospect of a showdown between the United States and China over Taiwan was becoming increasingly likely.
- Bomber Command (Michael Joseph, 1979) ISBN 0-7181-1603-8
- The Battle of Britain (with Len Deighton) (Jonathan Cape, 1980) ISBN 0-224-01826-4
- Das Reich: Resistance and the March of the Second SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944 (Michael Joseph, 1981) ISBN 0-7181-2074-4, (Henry Holt & Co, 1982) ISBN 0-03-057059-X
- Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy (Simon & Schuster, 1984) ISBN 0-671-46029-3
- Victory in Europe (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985) ISBN 0-297-78650-4 (Little Brown & C, 1992) ISBN 0-316-81334-6
- The Korean War (Michael Joseph, 1987) ISBN 0-7181-2068-X, (Simon & Schuster, 1987) ISBN 0-671-52823-8
- Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944–45 (Macmillan, 2004) ISBN 0-333-90836-8
- Warriors: Exceptional Tales from the Battlefield (HarperPress [UK], 2005) ISBN 978-0-00-719756-9
- Nemesis: The Battle for Japan 1944–45 (HarperPress [UK], October 2007) ISBN 0-00-721982-2 (re-titled Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45 for US release Knopf ISBN 978-0-307-26351-3)
- Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940–45 (London, HarperPress, 2009) ISBN 978-0-00-726367-7 (re-titled Winston's War: Churchill, 1940–1945 for US release by Knopf, 2010, ISBN 978-0-307-26839-6)
- All Hell Let Loose: The World At War 1939–1945 (London, HarperPress, 29 September 2011) ISBN 978-0-00-733809-2 (re-titled Inferno: The World At War, 1939–1945 for US release by Knopf, 1 November 2011, ISBN 978-0-307-27359-8. 729 pp)
- Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 (London, Knopf Press, 24 September 2013) ISBN 978-0307597052, 640 pp.
- The Secret War: Spies, Codes And Guerrillas 1939–45 (London: William Collins, 2015) ISBN 9780007503742
- Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy 1945-1975 (William Collins, 2018)
- Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 (William Collins, 2019) ISBN 9780008280529
- Operation Pedestal: The Fleet that Battled to Malta 1942 (William Collins, 2021) ISBN 978-0008364946
- Men at War: Tales of Their Triumphs and Tragedies Across the Ages (William Collins, 2021) ISBN 978-0008454227
- ^ a b "Hastings, Sir Max (Macdonald), (born 28 Dec. 1945), author and journalist". Who's Who. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.19444.
- ^ a b "Biography". Max Hastings. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- ^ "No. 56595". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2002. p. 1.
- ^ Lloyd, John (29 July 1997). "Secret members of the Other Club". The Times. p. 13.
- ^ "Britain's Max Hastings wins $100K military writing prize". CBC News. 19 June 2012.
- ^ Walker, Frank (2 December 2007). "Mutinous jibe angers veterans". The Age. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
- ^ van der Vat, Dan (13 October 2007). "Review: Nemesis by Max Hastings". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- ^ Howard, Michael (3 October 2007). "The worst of friends". The Spectator. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- ^ "Max Hastings - Bloomberg". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
- ^ a b Grice, Elizabeth (30 September 2011). "What makes military historian Max Hastings keep on writing about the Second World War?". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- ^ Guardian Staff (26 May 2000). "Son of Evening Standard editor dies in China". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- ^ "In memory of my son CHARLES HASTINGS 1973–2000".
- ^ Hastings, Max (11 April 2010). "My vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- ^ Hastings, Max (24 June 2019). I was Boris Johnson's boss: he is utterly unfit to be prime minister The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
- ^ Hastings, Max (14 February 2021). "There Will Always Be an England, But Not a U.K." Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
- ^ "Huw Edwards slams former Telegraph editor for anti-Welsh language article". Nation Cymru. 15 February 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
- ^ "America Is Headed to a Showdown Over Taiwan, and China Might Win". Bloomberg.com. 14 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
- ^ Steele, Jonathan (22 September 2018). "Vietnam by Max Hastings review – an effort to exonerate the US military". The Guardian.