Taylor Downing

Taylor Downing is a historian, writer and television producer. He has written several best selling books and has produced more than 200 television documentaries many of which have won Awards.


Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook's The Rest Is History podcast has launched an episode recorded with Taylor about his book 1983: The World At the Brink. Tom and Dominic are effusive about the book and Taylor talks of nuclear scares across the Cold War as well as events in 1983. See: https://play.acast.com/s/the-rest-is-history-podcast/85.nuclearweapons

Recently released documents in the United States have confirmed all the details from the 1983 war scare that are featured in Taylor's 1983: The World At the Brink. Taylor said 'I had a good lead on most of the elements that made up the 1983 book but now the details are confirmed in this new release of documents.' The documenta show that in November 1983 the Soviet Air Force made 'preparations for the immediate use of nuclear weapons.' Feb/March 2021

Taylor is currently researching and writing a new book for Little, Brown on a little known crisis in World War Two, due for publication in 2022.

Taylor has contributed to several podacsts and given many on-line lectures during Lockdown including for the popular We Have Ways of Making You Talk podcast with historian James Holland and comedian Al Murray:


And for the first podcast of the At the Brink series produced by the William Perry Project in the US:


Taylor's last book, written with Maya Lasker-Wallfisch, follows the impact of the Holocaust over three generations of a German-Jewish family and deals with the challenges of trans-generational trauma. Entitled Letter to Breslau it has been published in Germany by Suhrkamp Insel as Briefe nach Breslau where it is already a best seller.

Taylor provided media commentary on the 75th anniversary of D-Day for CNN International across the commemorations in June 2019.

Taylor's book 1983 - The World at the Brink has just been published in Russian. It was shortlisted for a highly prestigious book prize, the Pushkin Prize. See


Taylor's book on the little known Cold War scare entitled 1983 - The World at the Brink was published in April 2018 and came ut in paperback later in the year.

The book has generated immense interest and some great reviews. Historian Tom Holland has tweeted about 'Taylor Downing's gripping and frankly terrifying book on the US-Soviet nuclear confrontation.'

Dominic Sandbrook in The Sunday Times wrote 'Downing has written a carefully researched and hugely readable acount...Like the plot of some blockbuster by Frederick Forsyth, Downing's book piles up events with frightening speed.'

The book which has been serialised in the Daily Mail who described it as 'rivetting' is being called 'a real-life thriller'. Click on: 1983



Taylor's previous book Breakdown: The Crisis of Shell Shock on the Somme was picked out by The Times as a 'Must Read' book of 2016. Published by Little Brown, the book has received several superb reviews and there were features on the book in both the Telegraph and Mail in April 2016. 


Breakdown is now out as an Abacus paperback.

Taylor interviewed for Centenary News:


Taylor interviewed on CNN International once again by Christiane Amanpour  to discuss the 70th anniversary of VE Day:


In 2015 Taylor was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Fellows are elected because of their 'original contribution to historical scholarship'. Taylor said he was 'flattered and delighted' to become a Fellow of the RHS:



Taylor provides historical background to Christiane Amanpour for CNN International's coverage of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Shown across Europe, Asia and Africa. See:



The World at War is now available: The landmark documentary series The World at War remains the most influential and renowned history programme ever produced by British television. Taylor Downing's book traces how the series came about and looks at it in the context of the development of History programming on Television in Britain.

Spies in the Sky was short listed for the prestigious Royal United Services/Duke of Westminster Award for Military Literature. The award was won by All Hell Let Lose by Max Hastings. Taylor was delighted to be short listed with such a distinguished group of historians that also included Gary Sheffield, John Gaddis and David Stevenson.


Video links:

Taylor on Churchill's War Lab



Other video links on the Television page

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