Richard Bassett

Agent: Kate Hordern

Penguin have bought, on proposal, Richard's memoir of his time as Foreign Correspondent for The Times behind the Iron Curtain, focusing on Trieste in 1979, Vienna in 1985 and Prague in 1989. Publication is scheduled for early 2019.

Richard Bassett’s latest book, FOR GOD AND KAISER: The Imperial Austrian Army 1619 to 1918, was published by Yale University Press on 17th April 2015 and reprinted within four months of publication. Yale published in paperback in March 2016.


  • “This is a very good battle history of the old Austrian army, probably the most impressive one in any language.” Lothar Höbelt, University of Vienna for War in History
  • “genuinely ground-breaking … brilliantly fills a gaping hole in Europe’s history” Nigel Jones in BBC History Magazine
  • “An accessible English-language survey of the Habsburg Army, its achievements and eccentricities, has long been awaited. This need has now been met by Richard Bassett, who combines a mastery of the sources with a deep understanding of Austrian life and culture.” Christopher Duffy, author of THE AUSTRIAN ARMY IN THE SEVEN YEARS WAR
  • “Calling to his aid an impressively broad array of sources, Bassett draws on a wealth of detail and anecdote to tell this fascinating story … a mine of information. Bassett sets out to explore whether the Habsburgs’ army’s reputation for incompetence is at all justified and the author demonstrates with engaging verve that it is not.” Adam Zamoyksi in The Literary Review
  • “eminently readable and long overdue history of the Habsburgs and their army” Army Rumour Services
  • “John Keegan … felt that the most important book …that remained unwritten was a history of the Austrian army. Richard Bassett has now successfully filled the gap … an eye-opener.” John Jolliffe in the Spectator
  • “superb new book” William Anthony Hay (Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Mississippi State University) on the National Interest Website
  • “a remarkable masterpiece of vivid fast-paced and accessible historiography” Professor Gunther Kronenbitter in Royal United Services Institute Journal

Richard Bassett is the author of HITLER’S SPY CHIEF: The Wilhelm Canaris Mystery (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2005) and, as co-author with Sean Tully, RESTORING CONFIDENCE IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. Previous works include GUIDE TO CENTRAL EUROPE (Viking Penguin 1986), THE AUSTRIANS (Faber 1989), TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO VIENNA with John Lehmann (Constable 1989), WALDHEIM (Viking Penguin 1989) and BALKAN HOURS (John Murray 1990). HITLER’S SPY CHIEF sold to twelve languages.


  • “Fascinating” Michael Burleigh, Evening Standard
  • "Illuminating biography" Financial Times
  • “A brief and readable biography” Richard Overy, Literary Review
  • “This book describes, in fascinating detail, the shady and complex workings of the international intelligence world, and the amazing ways in which Canaris tried to subvert Hitler, while apparently serving him loyally.” Evening Gazette
  • “Extraordinary and very interesting” Guards Magazine

Richard Bassett read Law at Cambridge and did an MA in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. He was a staff foreign correspondent for The Times throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, covering central and Eastern Europe. He is married with two children and divides his time between London and Europe.

Richard is a Bye-Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge.

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