James Owen

Non-fiction writer


James Owen is an author and a journalist. His first book A Serpent in Eden (Little, Brown, 2005) told the story of a famous unsolved murder committed in the Bahamas during the wartime governorship of the Duke of Windsor. It was nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association gold dagger and adapted for television in 2006 by Channel 4.

Since then he has concentrated on writing about the Second World War, largely from a revisionist perspective. Nuremberg: evil on trial (Headline, 2006) argued that the prosecution of the leading Nazis was not conducted in as just a fashion as customarily believed; Danger UXB (Little, Brown, 2010) told the story of the early days of bomb disposal and claimed that the circumstances in which St Paul’s Cathedral was saved from an unexploded bomb was distorted for propaganda and personal gain; and Commando (Little, Brown, 2012) suggested that the popular image of the celebrated raiding force owed more to postwar cinema than it did to its actual achievements. In 2004, with Guy Walters, he published an anthology of writing about the conflict, The Voice of War (Viking).

James trained as a barrister and then worked for the Daily Telegraph, mainly as a writer of obituaries. He continues to contribute articles regularly to the national press, particularly book reviews and travel pieces. He was also formerly a trustee of the London Library. Although based in London, he has spent much time in Rome and Venice and is fluent in Italian.


James Owen

Non-fiction writer


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  • University College London, 2014–2015
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, 2012–2014