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Professor Nigel Ashton


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Dept of International History Bio|

Professor Nigel Ashton

ashtonProfessor Nigel Ashton is Professor of International History at the LSE. He is also Head of the Middle East Programme| at LSE IDEAS and a member of the IDEAS Management Committee|.

Professor Ashton received his undergraduate degree and PhD from Christ's College, Cambridge. Thereafter he lectured at Salford University and the University of Liverpool, before coming to the LSE in 1998. Professor Ashton's main fields of interest are contemporary Anglo-American relations and the modern history of the Middle East. These interests came together in his first book, Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser: Anglo-American Relations and Arab Nationalism, 1955-59, which looked at the strategies adopted by Britain and the United States to deal with the Arab nationalist challenge during the 1950s. His second book, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War: the Irony of Interdependence, broadened the frame of reference to look at Anglo-American relations over a whole range of international issues during the Kennedy Presidency. It was was awarded the Cambridge Donner Book Prize for 2003 for excellence in advancing scholarly understanding of transatlantic relations.

In September 2008, his book, King Hussein of Jordan: A Political Life, was published by Yale University Press. Based on unique and unprecedented access to the private papers of the late King, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of Hussein's statecraft and his colourful, charismatic personality and leadership.

Areas of Expertise

  • Contemporary Anglo-American Relations
  • Modern History of the Middle East

Recent Publications

  • King Hussein of Jordan: a political life, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008)
  • The Cold War in the Middle East: regional conflict and the superpowers, 1967-73 (ed.), (London: Routledge, 2007)
  • "Cold War, hot war, and civil war: King Hussein and Jordan's regional role, 1967-1973". In: Ashton, Nigel J, (ed.) The Cold war in the Middle East: regional conflict and the superpowers, 1967-73, (London: Routledge, 2007)
  • "Anglo-American revival and empire during the Macmillan years, 1957-63". In: Lynn, Martin, (ed.), The British Empire in the 1950s: retreat or revival?, (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2006)
  • "Pulling the strings: King Hussein's role during the crisis of 1970 in Jordan". International history review. (2006)


  • Both sides lost. And 22 years on, the US has too
    Nigel Ashton in The Times (behind pay-wall): ...political influence. What Khomeini could not achieve through war has been delivered instead through the ballot box.
  • King Hussein of Jordan: a political life, by Nigel Ashton
    Sir Mark Allen, LSE IDEAS Advisory Board: Nigel Ashton, a Professor at the LSE and Head of the LSE Middle East International Affairs Programme, "has written a lucid and thorough life of King Hussein, who ruled Jordan from 1953 to 1999. Students of the Arab–Israeli dispute must read this book, but so should many others."
  • Jordan’s Frustration with the Middle East Peace Process
    Nigel Ashton: In a widely quoted interview with The Times last May King Abdullah of Jordan warned that ‘if we delay our peace negotiations then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months’. 12 of the 18 months are now up and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations seem further away than ever from even beginning, never mind reaching, fruition.
  • What Next for the Middle East?
  • Barack Obama's Nobel Prize: A Debate
    Arne Westad, Michael Cox, Nigel Ashton, Danny Quah, et al.: Barack Obama's award of the Nobel Peace Prize, with nominations having closed just a month into his Presidential term, has raised eyebrows. Here a number of Contributors discuss the award. Why was it made, and is it deserved? What’s the political thinking behind it? How will affect Obama’s ability to pursue his foreign policy objectives? What will be reaction domestically?