Neal Ascherson was born in Edinburgh in 1932. Over a long career in journalism, he has written for the Observer (1960-90) and the Independent on Sunday (1990-8). He contributed scripts for the 1974 television 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 books include The Polish August, Black Sea and Stone Voices. He is the Honorary Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.