Timothy Garton Ash

Senior Fellow

Timothy Garton Ash, an internationally acclaimed contemporary historian whose work has focused on Europe’s history since 1945, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Garton Ash is in residence at Hoover on a part-time basis; he continues his work as professor of European studies and the Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University.

Among the topics he has covered are the liberation of Central Europe from communism, Germany before and after its reunification, how countries deal with a difficult past, and the European Union’s relationships with partners including the United States and rising non-Western powers such as China. His current research focuses on global free speech in the age of the Internet and mass migration (see the 13-language interactive Oxford University project www.freespeechdebate.com).

His most recent book is Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name (2010), and he edited Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (2009). His previous books include Free World: America, Europe and the Surprising Future of the West (2004); The File: A Personal History (1998); In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (1993); The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of 1989 as Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague (1990); The Polish Revolution: Solidarity, 1980–82 (1983); and Und Willst Du Nicht Mein Brüder Sein.

Garton Ash is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Historical Society, and the Royal Society of Arts and has received numerous honors and awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the George Orwell Prize, the Order of Merit from Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, and honorary doctorates from St. Andrew's University and the Catholic University of Leuven.

He writes a regular column in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.

Garton Ash, who holds a BA and MA in modern history from the University of Oxford, did graduate studies at St. Antony's College, Oxford, at the Free University in West Berlin, and at Humboldt University in East Berlin.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Soft Or Hard Brexit? The EU, Not Britain, Has The Whip Hand

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Thursday, November 24, 2016

The UK, requiring 27 countries to agree to a deal, is in a very weak position. By autumn 2018 this will become clear to all.

Analysis and Commentary

Populists Are Out To Divide Us. They Must Be Stopped

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Friday, November 11, 2016

The US is the latest country to be seduced by nationalists. Liberals should brace themselves for a long struggle.

Do You Live In A Trump Bubble, Or A Clinton Bubble?

by Timothy Garton Ash
Thursday, September 29, 2016

The myths, exaggerations and lies of our fragmented media have distorted reality for both left and right. This is eroding our democracy.


Timothy Garton Ash On Free Expression In Modern Times

by Timothy Garton Ashvia WBEZ
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hoover Institution fellow Timothy Garton Ash talks about his latest book, Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World. He calls the process of writing Free Speech, a “journey...not to eliminate conflict between human aspirations, values and ideologies but to work towards a framework of civilized and peaceful conflict, suitable to and sustainable in this world of neighbors.” 


Safe Spaces Are Not The Only Threat To Free Speech

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Friday, September 16, 2016

Universities should be safe spaces – safe spaces for free speech. When I started working on freedom of expression some years ago, I never imagined that threats to it in the university itself would become such a hot topic. But today, a great debate about this is echoing across the English-speaking world.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump’s Best Chance Of Winning? A Hillary Show Trial

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Thursday, July 21, 2016

This presidential campaign is built on anger, and the wounds it inflicts will be slow to heal.

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Free Speech: Ten Principles For A Connected World

by Timothy Garton Ashvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Never in human history was there such a chance for freedom of expression. If we have Internet access, any one of us can publish almost anything we like and potentially reach an audience of millions. Never was there a time when the evils of unlimited speech flowed so easily across frontiers: violent intimidation, gross violations of privacy, tidal waves of abuse. A pastor burns a Koran in Florida and UN officials die in Afghanistan.

Analysis and Commentary

'Merkel Must Hold Europe Together'

by Timothy Garton Ashvia Handelsblatt Global Edition
Thursday, July 7, 2016

[Subscription required] In a wide-ranging interview with Handelsblatt, renowned Oxford history professor and author Timothy Garton Ash discusses the perils, ironies and demands of Britain’s shocking E.U. exit vote – and the specter of a possible re-vote.

Analysis and Commentary

If You Think Britain Is Angry And Divided, Look At The Continent

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Friday, July 1, 2016

Now is not the time for knee-jerk responses to the Brexit vote. Better to watch the shifting jigsaw and make the right move.


As A Lifelong English European, This Is The Biggest Defeat Of My Political Life

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Friday, June 24, 2016

The fallout from the referendum vote will pit the two souls in my breast against each other. How did it come to this?