Neal Ascherson was born in Edinburgh in 1932. Sustaining a long career in journalism, he has written for The Observer (1960-1990) and the Independent on Sunday (1990-1998). He contributed scripts for the 1974 documentary series World at War and the 1998 series The Cold War. More recently, he has been a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. His own books include The Polish August (1981), Black Sea (1995) and Stone Voices (2002).