About Clare

I consider myself a Londoner: I was born in South London and grew up in a small town in Hertfordshire. I was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls in Elstree, read Modern History at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and since then I’ve been living in central London. After graduating, I spent a couple of years working in the UK Parliament as a researcher, then as a policy analyst in HM Treasury and the Department for International Development, next I turned my hand to lobbying and press work, first for UNICEF UK and after that for the Heritage Lottery Fund. Finally, the message had got through: I would never find anything as interesting and fascinating as history, and so I applied to do a part-time MA in Historical Research at Birkbeck College, University of London, alongside my day job. A couple of years later, the day job disappeared when I got funding for my full-time PhD.

I completed my PhD in June 2013.  I have worked as Teaching Fellow at UCL, where I was the convenor and internal examiner for BA and MA courses on gender history. I have also taught a variety of courses at Birkbeck, University of London.

When I’m not reading and writing about the history of the First and Second World War, I love to travel. Amongst a number of adventures, I’ve climbed up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; cycled from Saigon to Bangkok; hiked the Salkantay trail in Peru as well as the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, taken the trans-Mongolia railway from Moscow to Beijing and driven a campervan up the west coast of Australia. I enjoy spending time in countries that don’t conform to the Anglo-American capitalist/democratic model that seems to be slowly engulfing the entire world – amongst my favourite are Cuba, Bhutan, Myanmar, the state of Kerala in India, and Japan. I also find it fascinating to visit the sites of some of the most momentous episodes in history. I discover a sense of profundity when physically being in these places, different to that which I can gain from reading texts. Over the past few years, I’ve visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, Hellfire Pass in Thailand, Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Perm 36 – Gulag on the edge of Siberia and the Killing Fields in Cambodia and Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

Clare Makepeace walking through Hellfire Pass in the Tenasserim Hills in Thailand. This part of the Thailand-Burma railway was so called because of its harsh conditions and heavy loss of life suffered by its labourers during construction.