Biography

Helen Parr joined Keele in 2004. She previously taught in the International History Department at LSE. She studied History at Clare College, Cambridge, and Contemporary British History at Queen Mary College, University of London.
 
Her research interests are in the field of contemporary British political and social history. She has worked on Britain’s relations with the EC/EU, the Labour Party and European integration, Britain’s Cold War and nuclear weapons policies and British-French relations.
 
Her most recent work was a social and cultural history of the Parachute Regiment and the 1982 Falklands War, Our Boys: The Story of a Paratrooper (Allen Lane, 2018).  Our Boys won the Templer Medal Book Prize, the Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History, the Longman-History Today Book Prize and was Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing.
 
It was Book of the Day in the Guardian, the Evening Standard and the Spectator, one of the Guardian’s Ten Biggest Reads of the Autumn in 2018, and a Spectator Book of the Year in 2019.
 
Read Ian Jack’s review in the Guardian
 
Listen to Helen on Radio 4’s Start the Week 
 
Listen to Helen on Dan Snow’s History Hit 
 
Listen to Helen’s interview with Susan Cahill on Newstalk’s Talking Books
 
A webpage dedicated to the book Our Boys is available here

Research and scholarship

I am currently writing a social and cultural history of a military and political subject – the Parachute Regiment and the 1982 Falklands war.

This has involved me in a lot of archival work, and also many interviews with former paratroopers at all ranks of the Regiment, with other soldiers who fought in the Falklands, and with family members of soldiers who were killed. All this has opened my eyes to histories that are often left out of more official accounts. I’m interested in who the men were who fought in the Falklands, in what the war was like, and in the aftermath and legacies of the conflict, for the soldiers, their families, and for Britain.

I received a Small Grant from the British Academy which helped me to conduct much of the research. I’ve presented my work to a variety of audiences, including at the Joint Command and Staff College in Shrivenham, veterans’ organisations and to an audience including the Argentine ambassador to the UK.

 

Teaching

  • The Changing World: A  History of International Relations since 1945 (first year module)
  • The Falklands War and 1980s Britain and/or Britain in the Cold War (third year modules)
  • War, Memory and Popular Culture (MA module)
  • European Integration (MA module)
  • Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (MA module)

Selected Publications

  • Parr H. 2014. The National Interest and the Falklands War. In British Foreign Policy and the National Interest Identity, Strategy and Security. Springer.
  • Parr H. 2013. Sir Patrick Reilly, 1965-8. In The British Embassy in Paris, 1945-77. Pastor-Castro R and Young J (Eds.). link>
  • Parr H. 2013. The Nuclear myth: Edward Heath, Europe and the international politics of Anglo-French nuclear co-operation, 1970-3. International History Review, vol. 35(3), 534-555. doi>
  • Parr H. 2013. The British Decision to Upgrade Polaris, 1970-3. Contemporary European History, vol. 22(2), 253-274. doi>
  • Parr H. 2009. Transformation and Tradition: Anglo-French nuclear co-operation in the context of Britain's policies towards European integration, 1960-74. In British Way in Cold Warfare. Grant M (Ed.). Continuum.

Full Publications List show

Books

  • Parr H. 2018. Our Boys: The Parachute Regiment, the Falklands War and 1980s Britain.
  • O'Hara G and Parr H. 2006. The Wilson governments 1964-1970 reconsidered.
  • Parr H. 2006. Britain's policy towards the European community, 1964-1967 Harold Wilson and Britain's World Role.

Journal Articles

  • Parr H. 2019. Book Review: Visions, Votes and Vetoes: The Empty Chair Crisis and the Luxembourg Compromise Thirty Years On. JOURNAL OF COLD WAR STUDIES, vol. 21(2), 203-205. link> doi>
  • Parr H. 2018. Book Review: Continental Drift: Britain and Europe from the End of Empire to the Rise of Euroscepticism. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, vol. 133(563), 1009-1011. link> doi>
  • Parr H. 2013. The Nuclear myth: Edward Heath, Europe and the international politics of Anglo-French nuclear co-operation, 1970-3. International History Review, vol. 35(3), 534-555. doi>
  • Parr H. 2013. The British Decision to Upgrade Polaris, 1970-3. Contemporary European History, vol. 22(2), 253-274. doi>
  • Parr H. 2006. Saving the Community: The French Response to Britain's Second EEC Application in 1967. Journal of Cold War History, vol. 4(6), 425-454. doi>
  • Parr H and O'Hara G. 2006. The Labour Governments 1964-1970: A Reassessment. Contemporary British History, vol. 20(3).
  • Parr H. 2005. A Question of Leadership: July 1966 and Harold Wilson's European Decision. Contemporary British History, vol. 19(5), 437-458. doi>
  • PARR H. 2005. A Question of Leadership: July 1966 and Harold Wilson’s European Decision, 1964-1966. Journal of Contemporary British History, vol. 19(5). doi>

Chapters

  • Parr H. 2018. European Integration. In The Struggle for Labour's Soul. Routledge. link>
  • Parr H. 2015. Representations of grief and the Falklands War. In Emotions, Politics and War. Routledge. doi> link>
  • Parr H. 2014. The National Interest and the Falklands War. In British Foreign Policy and the National Interest Identity, Strategy and Security. Springer.
  • Parr H. 2013. Sir Patrick Reilly, 1965-8. In The British Embassy in Paris, 1945-77. Pastor-Castro R and Young J (Eds.). link>
  • Parr H. 2009. Transformation and Tradition: Anglo-French nuclear co-operation in the context of Britain's policies towards European integration, 1960-74. In British Way in Cold Warfare. Grant M (Ed.). Continuum.
  • Parr H. 2009. Britain's policy towards nuclear co-operation with France and Britain's policies towards the European Community, 1961-73. In The Road to a United Europe. Rasmussen M and Knudsen A-CL (Eds.). Peter Lang Pub Inc.
  • PARR H. 2007. Anglo-French Nuclear collaboration and Britain's policy towards Europe. In Beyond the Customs Union: the European Community's quest for Completion, Deepening and Enlargement, 1969-1975. Harst JVD (Ed.). Bruylant Brussels.
  • Parr H. 2007. Anglo-French Nuclear Collaboration and Britain's Policy towards Europe, 1970-3. In Beyond the customs union. Harst JVD and Historians ECLCO (Eds.).
  • Parr H. 2007. Britain's Policy towards Detente and European Integration, 1966-7. In European integration and the Cold War. Ludlow NP (Ed.).
  • Parr H. 2006. Britain, America, East of Suez and the EEC: Finding a Role in British Foreign Policy, 1964-1967. In The Wilson governments 1964-1970 reconsidered. O'Hara G and Parr H (Eds.).
  • Parr H and Pine M. 2005. The Labour Cabinets and Membership of the European Community, 1964-1970. In The Wilson Governments, 1964-1970. Dorey P (Ed.).
  • Parr H. 2005. Un "Foreign Office miniature dedie a l'Europe?" Le Role du Department of Economic Affairs lors de la seconde condidature britannique, 1964-1967. In Les administrations nationales et la construction européenne. Badel L, Jeannesson S, Ludlow NP (Eds.). Peter Lang Publishing.

Other

  • Parr H. 2010. The Year that Never Was: Heath, the Nixon Administration and The Year of Europe. doi>
  • Parr H. 2009. Labour’s European Debates in the 1970s in context.
  • Parr H. 2009. The British Left's 'Great Debate' on Europe.
  • Parr H. 2008. Book Review - Terry Macintyre, Anglo-German Relations during the Labour Governments 1964-70 (MUP).
  • Parr H. 2008. Book Review - Garret Martin, Playing the China Card? Revisiting France’s Recognition of Communist China, 1963-1964. link>
  • Parr H. 2008. Harold Wilson's EEC Application: Inside the Foreign Office, 1964-7.
  • Parr H. 2005. Book Review - Kennedy, De Gaulle and Western Europe by Erin Mahan.
  • Parr H. 2007. Book Review - The Almost Impossible Ally: Harold Macmillan and Charles de Gaulle by Peter Mangold.
  • Parr H. 2005. Kennedy, de Gaulle and Western Europe. link>

PhD Supervision

I’m currently supervising 5 students and am happy to hear from anyone interested in:

Twentieth century British political history (particularly post-1945)

Cold War

Britain’s international history, particularly relations with Europe

War and society

War, commemoration, memory and gender

Please see my research and scholarship tab for more details about my area of expertise.

Further information is available about studying in SPIRE, including funding available for pursuing a doctoral research degree.

Accreditation logo for Athena Swan Bronze