Alan John Percivale Taylor was born in Lancashire in 1906. After studying at Oriel College, Oxford, he became a lecturer in modern history at Manchester University. In 1953 he returned to Oxford University as a lecturer in international history.
As well as a successful career as a broadcaster, Taylor published a large number of books on history including The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848–1918 (1954), The Trouble Makers (1957), The Origins of the Second World War (1961) and English History 1914–1945 (1965).
Taylor’s autobiography, A Personal History, was published in 1983. He died in 1990.