About Peter Marshall
Best Selling Author
I am a philosopher, historian, biographer, travel writer and poet. I have written seventeen highly acclaimed books which have been translated into 15 different languages. Two have been chosen as ‘Books of the Year’. I have contributed many chapters to books as well as articles and reviews to national newspapers like the Observer and The Guardian.
My circumnavigation of Africa was made into a 6-part British TV series, an Italian TV series was based on my book on alchemy, and my voyage around Ireland was made into a radio series.
Widely recognized as a bold and original thinker, I have made a major contribution to fields as diverse as anarchism, ecology, alchemy and archaeology. I have been hailed by Resurgence as one of the twenty-five ‘visionary voices’ which have helped shape the new world view in the last quarter of a century. The Guardian has called me ‘a passionate ecologist and animal liberationist’. In all my writings and actions, I have tried to widen the freedom of all beings.
I was born Peter Hugh Marshall on 23 August 1946 in Bognor Regis, England, a stone’s throw from the sea. My father Bill was an ace Spitfire fighter pilot and later a successful race-horse trainer but I was brought up with my mother Vera and brother Michael in the home of my grandparents who had owned hotels.
I was sent to become a boarder at Steyning Grammar School in the Sussex Downs. I then sailed around the world as a purser cadet in the P & O-Orient Shipping Company before teaching English in Senegal, West Africa. Returning to Britain, I took an external BA degree in English, French and Spanish from the University of London and a MA and D. Phil in the History of Ideas from the University of Sussex. (See my early memoir from 1946-1970 Bognor Boy: How I Became an Anarchist)
From 1971-1990, I taught part-time philosophy and the literature of ideas at Chelsea School of Art, Goldsmiths College of the University of London, the Extra-Mural Departments of the University of London and the University of Wales as well as the Open University.
In the 1970s I was a founding member of a libertarian community in Buckinghamshire called Redfield.
I went in 1980 with my partner Jenny Zobel to Snowdonia in North Wales for a winter to finish my first book and stayed on for 21 years, first living in a remote cottage in the mountains and then in 1994 on my own down by the sea. During that period, I travelled widely to the Caribbean, Africa, India and China for different books. As a keen linguist,I speak French, Spanish, some Welsh and a little Turkish. Jenny has sadly died. I have had two children with her, Emily and Dylan, and now have four grandchildren.
In 2001 I moved with the photographer Elizabeth Ashton Hill to an organic smallholding by the River Tamar in West Devon. After 18 years we have now moved to a small village by the sea in East Devon. I still go sailing with Liz for about five months in Greece, having recently bought a second-hand Sadler 34-foot yacht.
I was the chairman of the Toussaint Louverture Theatre Company and a trustee of the Tree Shepherds. I am now an elected fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Friend of Freedom Press and a member of the Society of Authors.
William Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary
The picture of Godwin that emerges is one of a complex man and a subtle and revolutionary thinker. In the final analysis, Godwin stands forth not only as a rare example of a man who excelled in both philosophy and literature but as one of the great humanists in the Western tradition.
Demanding the Impossible
A fascinating and comprehensive history, Demanding the Impossible is a challenging and thought-provoking exploration of anarchist ideas and actions from ancient times to the present day.
I have written 17 books translated into 15 different languages. There have been 44 editions in English and 26 in other languages.
Peter Marshall’s excellent biography portrays the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II as a pivotal figure in the transition from the medieval worldview to our modern scientific outlook… Marshall succeeds brilliantly in capturing both the spirit of the age in which Rudolf lived and the complex character of the man he describes as “one of the last magi