Historian Garrett Mattingly was born in Washington, DC. After serving as a sergeant in the US Army in the First World War, Mattingly completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard and at various universities in Europe. After a brief sojourn in publishing, he received his Masters from Harvard and embarked on a prestigious academic career.

He completed his doctorate while working at Northwestern University. Influenced by historian Roger B. Merriman, he developed an interest in 16th-century history. His first book was on Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife (published in 1941). During the Second World War, Mattingly served as a lieutenant commander in the US naval reserve, spending most of his time in intelligence operations in Washington, DC. During this time he learned a lot about naval strategy, information that was to prove essential in the planning and writing of his classic book The Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1959). Before that he published the book that was to establish his reputation as an influential historian, Renaissance Diplomacy (1955).


His work should take its place among the classics of of the subject.’ –Times Literary Supplement

See also: Bernard DeVoto; Hugh Thomas;