Alistair Horne (born November 9, 1925) is a British historian of modern France. Evacuated from England during World War II, he attended Millbrook School and befriended William F. Buckley Jr., which marked the start of a lifelong friendship. Horne returned to England and served in the RAF from 1943-44, and with the Coldstream Guards from 1944-47.
He is perhaps best known for his trilogy on the Franco-Prussian Wars, a term which covers not only the original Franco-Prussian War but World War I and World War II. These books, The Fall Of Paris, The Price Of Glory, and To Lose A Battle are excellent in their depiction not only of the military actions -the Siege of Paris/Paris Commune, the Battle of Verdun, and the 1940 campaign in France- but the strategic and political context in which those battles took place. Horne's love for France and its people (and his disgust for the politics of the Third Republic) is apparent in all three books, but he is unsparing in his critiques of the French Army and the nation that created it.
More recently, Horne has been in the news due to his study of the Algerian War for Independence, A Savage War Of Peace, which has been of interest to American military officers due to the parallels between the French situation in Algeria and the American situation in Iraq after the Second Gulf War. Horne's realistic portrayal of the war in Algeria was well-named; his dispassionate account of the savage methods by which all four parties in the conflict pursued their ambitions was sufficiently graphic that I was unable to finish the book, and I normally don't flinch at graphic descriptions of violence, as evidenced by my fondness for the works of David Drake and S.M. Stirling.
Horne has also written biographies of Field Marshal Montgomery, Henry Kissinger, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Harold Macmillan.