Brendan Bracken, Founding Father

Robin Bruce Lockhart, 'midwife's assistant' at the birth of History Today, contributes some personal recollections of the magazine's mercurial and larger-than-life founder.

Brendan Bracken in 1947

Brendan Bracken may have been founding father of History Today, in the launch of which I played a part, albeit a small one, but if history is the science of unravelling and recording the truth about the past, he did his best to ensure that as little as possible of his own life should he recorded. In his lifetime he revealed nothing of his origins and, at his behest, all his personal papers were destroyed on his death. Even his close friend Lord Beaverbrook had to send out a team of reporters to Eire to discover just a smattering of information about his Irish origin. Rumours about Brendan Bracken abounded – many cultivated by the man himself in the sense that he refused to deny them. His devotion to Winston Churchill even led some to believe that he was Winston's illegitimate son.

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