Barr, Niall

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Barr, Niall

(Niall J.A. Barr)


Married; children: two. Education: University of St. Andrews, M.A. and Ph.D.


Home—Oxfordshire, England. Office—King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, England. Agent—David Higham Associates, 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Sq., London W1F 9HA, England. E-mail—[email protected]


Affiliated with University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England; King's College, University of London, London, England, reader in military history at Joint Services Command and Staff College, 2000—.


Royal Historical Society (fellow).


Research award, Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2002.



(With J.P. Harris) Amiens to the Armistice: The BEF in the Hundred Days' Campaign, 8 August-11, November 1918, Brassey's (Washington, DC), 1998.

(With Russell Hart) Panzer: The Illustrated History of Germany's Armored Forces in WWII, MBI Publishing (Osceola, WI), 1999.

Flodden 1513: The Scottish Invasion of Henry VIII's England, Tempus Publishing (Charleston, SC), 2001.

Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2004, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2005.

The Lion and the Poppy: British Veterans, Politics, and Society, 1921-1939, Praeger Publishers (Westport, CT), 2005.

Also contributor of book reviews to Historian.


Niall Barr has focused his academic and writing career on military history, garnering particular attention for his 2004 book Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein. El Alamein, Egypt, was the site of a pivotal World War II campaign in which Germany's Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, nicknamed the "Desert Fox," at first defeated Britain's Eighth Army but was ultimately turned back several months later. Barr examines the series of 1942 battles from their inception in July through their conclusion in October, relying on extensive research in military archives as well as translated German documents, including letters from Rommel to his wife. According to Historian reviewer Dennis E. Showalter, a wide perspective is "part of the work's strength." Several reviewers remarked on Barr's discussion of how the British forces learned from their mistakes over the course of the campaign. Writing for History, Arthur Wheeler said that Pendulum of War "is not so much a comprehensive history of this campaign … as it is a detailed study of the leadership, organization, and combat effectiveness of the British Eighth Army." Barr shows, for instance, that the arrival of British commander Bernard Law Montgomery, popularly given credit for the Army's remarkable turnaround, was not the only—or perhaps even the most important—factor. Instead, the army's ability to integrate its various forces in the air and on the ground and to develop and use different tactics proved central. Noting that much has been written about the El Alamein battles, Showalter maintained that Barr "combines extensive archival research, command of published sources, and mastery of operational analysis in what is clearly the best book to date" on the subject.



Booklist, March 15, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein, p. 1260.

Contemporary Review, March, 2005, Robert S. Redmond, "El Alamein Revisited," p. 181.

Historian, winter, 2006, Dennis E. Showalter, review of Pendulum of War, p. 86.

History, summer, 2005, Arthur Wheeler, review of Pendulum of War, p. 146.

Journal of British Studies, April, 2006, Sidney Aster, review of The Lion and the Poppy: British Veterans, Politics, and Society, 1921-1939, p. 465.

Journal of Military History, January, 2002, Gervase Phillips, review of Flodden 1513: The Scottish Invasion of Henry VIII's England, p. 194; April, 2006, Colin F. Baxter, review of Pendulum of War, pp. 538-541.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of Pendulum of War, p. 157.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2002, review of Flodden 1513, p. 27; November, 2005, review of The Lion and the Poppy.

Washington Post Book World, July 10, 2005, Wesley K. Clark, "World War II: Still More to Tell in This 60-Year-Old Story," p. 13.


Dr. Niall Barr Home Page, (June, 2008).