Alan John Percivale Taylor (25 March 1906 – 7 September 1990) was a British historian who specialised in 19th- and 20th-century European diplomacy. Both a journalist and a broadcaster, he became well known to millions through his television lectures. His combination of academic rigour and popular appeal led the historian Richard Overy to describe him as "the Macaulay of our age". In a 2011 poll by History Today magazine, he was named the fourth most important historian of the previous 60 years.
Taylor was born in 1906 in Birkdale, Southport, which was then part of Lancashire, only child of cotton merchant Percy Lees Taylor and schoolmistress Constance Sumner Taylor (née Thompson). In 1919 his family returned to Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, where both his parents' families had lived for several decades. His wealthy parents held left-wing views, which he inherited. Both his parents were pacifists who vocally opposed the First World W