Sir Martin Gilbert was born in London in 1936. After school in London he was in the Army for two years' National Service (Intelligence Corps) before going to Oxford University. He taught history at Oxford for ten years, and in 1968 became the Official Biographer of Sir Winston Churchill.
His published work includes six volumes of Churchill biography, twelve volumes of Churchill documents, books on the First and Second World Wars, a study of The Roots of Appeasement, and a three-volume History of the Twentieth Century. He has also devised and published nine historical atlases, including his recent Atlas of the Second World War. He has made special studies of the Dardanelles Commission of Enquiry and the Royal Commission on Palestine (the Peel Commission).
He has lectured widely on political and military history and international affairs, including overseas at the Ministry of Defence (Moscow), the Houses of Parliament (Ottawa), the India International Centre (New Delhi), the Academy of Sciences (Kiev) and the White House (Washington). In 1985 and 1986 he was a Non-Governmental Organization representative at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Geneva.
He has accompanied both John Major and Gordon Brown on official visits to the Middle East.
Sir Martin Gilbert was taken seriously ill in April 2012. He died on 3 February 2015.