Jonathan Freedland

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Jonathan Saul Freedland
Jonathan Freedland, Journalist, Author and Broadcaster (8571240487).jpg
Freedland at Chatham House in 2013
Born (1967-02-25) 25 February 1967 (age 50)[1]
Alma mater Wadham College, Oxford
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Sarah Peters[1]

Jonathan Saul Freedland (born 25 February 1967)[1] is a British journalist, who writes a weekly column for The Guardian and a monthly piece for The Jewish Chronicle. He is also a regular contributor to The New York Times and The New York Review of Books, and presents BBC Radio 4's contemporary history series, The Long View.

He was named 'Columnist of the Year' in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards and in 2008 was awarded the David Watt Prize for Journalism,[2] in recognition of his essay 'Bush's Amazing Achievement', published in The New York Review of Books.[3] Freedland also writes best-selling thrillers, originally under the pseudonym Sam Bourne.

Life and journalism[edit]

The son of Michael Freedland, a biographer and journalist, and Sara Hocherman,[4] he was educated at University College School, a boys' independent school in Hampstead, London, and at Wadham College, Oxford.

The younger Freedland began his Fleet Street career at the short-lived Sunday Correspondent. In 1990 he joined the BBC, working as a news reporter across radio and television, appearing most often on The World at One and Today on Radio 4. In the summer of 1992, he was awarded the Laurence Stern fellowship[5] on The Washington Post, serving as a staff writer on the national news section. He became Washington Correspondent for The Guardian in 1993, remaining in that post until 1997 when he returned to London as an editorial writer and columnist. Bring Home the Revolution: The case for a British Republic (1998), Freedland's first book, argued that Britain should reclaim the revolutionary ideals it exported to America in the 18th century, and undergo a constitutional and cultural overhaul. The book won a W. Somerset Maugham Award for non-fiction and was later adapted into a two-part series for BBC Television.

Between 2002 and 2004, Freedland was an occasional columnist for the Daily Mirror and from 2005 to 2007 he wrote a weekly column for the London Evening Standard. He has also been published in Newsweek and The New Republic magazines.

Jacob's Gift (2005) is a memoir recounting the lives of three generations of his own Jewish family as well as exploring wider questions of identity and belonging.[6] In 2008, he broadcast a two-part series for BBC Radio 4 – British Jews and the Dream of Zion – as well as two TV documentaries for BBC Four: How to be a Good President[7] and President Hollywood.

A leading liberal Zionist in the UK,[8] he wrote in 2012 that he only uses the word Zionism infrequently. He explained:

Of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict he wrote: "Israelis want security, yet their government’s actions will give it no security. On the contrary, they are utterly self-defeating." Freedland has called for negotiations to end the cycles of violence: "The only real security is political, not military. It comes through negotiation, not artillery fire" because "in trying to crush today’s enemy, Israel has reared the enemy of tomorrow."[10]

In March 2014, it emerged that Freedland from the following May would assume the role of executive editor, opinion with responsibilities for the comment section of the newspaper and the development of longer articles for the paper and the website.[11] Freedland remained in this role until early 2016. He continues to write a Saturday column for the newspaper.[12]

Nominated on seven occasions, Freedland was awarded a special Orwell Prize in May 2014 for his journalism.[13][14]

Thriller writer[edit]

Freedland has published six books: two non-fiction works under his own name and six novels, originally under the pseudonym Sam Bourne.

The Righteous Men (2006), is a religious thriller published under the Bourne 'nom de plume'. The book made a brief appearance in the gossip columns when a damning review by Michael Dibdin,[15] originally written for The Guardian, appeared instead in The Times. The Guardian's readers' editor[16] discovered that when Dibdin originally submitted his review to The Guardian he offered to withdraw it if it were deemed too awkward – an offer the editor, Alan Rusbridger, accepted. The Righteous Men was picked as a Richard and Judy Summer Read in June 2006 and soon rose to the top of the The Sunday Times best-sellers' list. It stayed on the list for several months and has now sold more than half a million copies in the UK; it has been translated into 30 languages.

The book was followed by another Sam Bourne title, The Last Testament (2007), this time set against the backdrop of the Middle East peace process, and by The Final Reckoning (2008), based on the true story of the Avengers: a group of Holocaust survivors who sought revenge against their Nazi persecutors. The Final Reckoning just missed the peak of The Sunday Times best-seller list. Just before The Chosen One (2010), the fourth thriller by Sam Bourne was published in the UK, The Bookseller reported in April 2010 that HarperCollins had signed Freedland for three more Bourne books, describing the author as "the UK's bestselling thriller writer with sales of well over one million ... in less than five years."[17]

HarperCollins published "Pantheon" in July 2012. Freedland's sixth novel, The 3rd Woman, is published by HarperCollins in August; his pseudonym of Sam Bourne has been abandoned.


  1. ^ a b c "'FREEDLAND, Jonathan Saul', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011 ; online edn". Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Awards 2008". The Guardian. London. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Freedland, Jonathan. "Bush's Amazing Achievement". The New York Review of Books. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Freedland "In death – as in life – my mother was rescued by love", The Guardian, 18 May 2012
  5. ^ "List of previous fellows". Laurence Stern Fellowship. City University. 
  6. ^ Anthony Juluius "The bearers of memory", The Guardian, 19 February 2005
  7. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (14 September 2008). "How to be a good president". Documentary. BBC. 
  8. ^ Antony Lerman "The End of Liberal Zionism: Israel’s Move to the Right Challenges Diaspora Jews", New York Times, 22 August 2014
  9. ^ Jonathan Freedland "Yearning for the same land", New Statesman, 18 July 2012
  10. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (26 July 2014). "Israel's fears are real, but this Gaza war is utterly self-defeating". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Jason Deans "Janine Gibson appointed editor-in-chief of",, 7 March 2014
  12. ^ "Are Blairites being purged from the Guardian?". The Spectator. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Martin Williams "Two Guardian journalists win Orwell prize for journalism",, 21 May 2014
  14. ^ Katie Rosseinsky "Double win for Alan Johnson as This Boy receives the Orwell Prize", Daily Telegraph, 21 May 2014
  15. ^ Dibdin, Michael (11 February 2006). "Conspiring against credibility". The Times. London. Retrieved 9 October 2015.  (subscription required)
  16. ^ Mayes, Ian (10 April 2006). "Open Door". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  17. ^ Page, Benedicte (16 April 2010). "Three Sam Bournes for HC". The Bookseller. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 


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