I am a historian of modern Europe with particular interests in modern French history and war. I am a graduate of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, the University of Leeds, and Royal Holloway, University of London. Prior to my appointment at Strathclyde, I was Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Durham and then Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Edinburgh. Before moving into an academic career, I worked in financial services in London, specialising in Corporate Tax.
My latest book, Vichy's Double Bind: French Collaboration between Hitler and Mussolini during the Second World War, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2023. The book advances a significant new interpretation of the Vichy regime that governed France and its colonial empire between 1940 and 1944. Challenging the often exclusive focus upon French encounters with the Nazis in much of the scholarship on France during the Second World War, the book argues that in its dealings with Fascist Italy, Vichy found itself confronted with a double bind. Offering the first wide-ranging study of French relations with Fascist Italy between 1940 and 1943, it suggests that Italy presented a set of challenges that had far-reaching consequences for Vichy’s pursuit of collaboration, its response to occupation and its ability to retain control of its colonial empire. This research has been funded by grants from the British Academy and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
My first research project explored the memory and impact of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. My book, Under the Shadow of Defeat: The War of 1870-71 in French Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), is the first wide-ranging analysis of how memories of the Franco-Prussian War impacted upon French political culture and identities, and analyses the first widespread war remembrance in Europe. This research was funded with grants from the AHRC, Royal Historical Society, University of London Central Research Fund, and Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. I am working on a new related project exploring the European impact of the Franco-Prussian War. I sit on the scientific committee organising the official Franco-German commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Franco-Prussian War led by the Souvenir Français.
In 2016-18, I worked on a project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 'Relations between Britain and France in World War Two', which involved collaborations with the British Embassy in Paris, the French Embassy in London, the Institut Français d’Ecosse and the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni.
I have also co-edited A Fascist Decade of War: 1935-45 in International Perspective, with Dr Marco Maria Aterrano, which was published by Routledge in 2020.
My research blog on the history of modern France at war can be found at: http://francehistory.wordpress.com/
I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am currently the Treasurer of the Society for the Study of French History. I am also a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.