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Dr Geoff Andrews

Profile summary

Professional biography

Geoff Andrews was educated at Ruskin College, Oxford and University College, Cardiff, with a PhD from Kingston University. He joined The Open University as Staff Tutor in 2000, having previously been Senior Lecturer in Politics at The University of Hertfordshire. He has also taught for several years at the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education. 

He served as the Social Science Faculty’s Media Fellow between 2011-2015, working on OU-BBC co-productions with colleagues from the Open Media Unit.

Research interests

Dr Andrews has researched and published widely on the history of political ideas and movements, with particular interests in the history of British communism, aspects of labour history, Italian political history and political biography. His new book project is a major study of the intellectual history of the Labour Party, the left and the British working classes, which, in drawing on fresh archive material, diaries, memoir and a range of unused sources, will rediscover the ideas at the heart of the British progressive tradition.  It is intended to be a 'history from below' with a difference, resituating the working classes (rather than working class), as producers of political ideas in diverse contexts and circumstances, often in alliance with middle-class progressives. 

His work on labour history and the left originated in his PhD which focused on the final years of British communism,and was later published as Endgames and New Times, as well as his other work on trhe Communist Party and the New Left.9780853159919: Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism 1964-1991 - AbeBooks - Andrews, Geoff: 0853159912

His biography of the communist intellectual James Klugmann explored the political commitments of those attracted to communism in Britain in the 1930s, the roots of their idealism, and the hopes and fears of communist intellectuals as well as their conflict of loyalties. The Shadow Man: At the Heart of the Cambridge Spy Circle: Geoff Andrews: I.B. Tauris ( This led to a further biography of John Cairncross, the fifth man of the Cambridge spy circle, in drawing on a range of different historical sources, personal archives and memoirs, and made critical use of MI5 and other security service files. Agent Molière: The Life of John Cairncross, the Fifth Man of the Cambridge Spy Circle: Geoff Andrews: I.B. Tauris (

His most recent book is a biographical study of Cyril Lakin, the Welsh  journalist, broadcaster and politician. Lakin's different worlds cut across the spheres of literature, the press and politics and his life was partly shaped by his experience of two world wars. The book provides new insight on the history of the Welsh political and business elite (notably through Lakin's connection to the Berry brothers, the Welsh press barons) as well as the literary scene of the 1930s. It was published in 2021 as part of Parthian's Modern Wales series. Smooth Operator: the life and times of Cyril Lakin, editor, broadcaste – Parthian Books

Dr Andrews's work on Italian history and politics has included two books.  His book Not a Normal Country: Italy After Berlusconi (2005), (published in Italian as Un paese anormale (2006)) made him a regular commentator on Italian politics for the TV news channels and in articles for the Financial Times and Open Democracy. Italy’s hopes of unity likely to be thwarted | Financial Times ( The Slow Food Story: Politics and Pleasure (also published in Italian and North American editions) was the first account of the history of the Slow Food movement and led to occasional  contributions to the Food Programme on BBC Radio 4.BBC - Radio 4 - The Food Programme

PhD supervision

Geoff Andrews welcomes applications from PhD students working on contemporary political ideas and movements and aspects of labour history.

Teaching interests

Dr Andrews has been closely involved with the production of several Open University politics modules. These include Modern Political Ideas (DD316) which he currently chairs. He has also made substantial contributions to Understanding Politics: Ideas and Institutions in the Modern World (DD211), Power, Dissent, Equality: Understanding Contemporary Politics (DD203) and Living Political Ideas (DD306). He has contributed to other interdisciplinary modules, including Media, Politics and Society, (ADXS001), Introducing the Social Sciences (DD102) and Investigating the Information Society: Social Science in Action (DXR220), a residential school module.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


Abe Lazarus and the Lost World of British Communism (2017-04-01)
Andrews, Geoff
History Workshop Journal, 83(1) (pp. 272-288)

Smooth Operator: The Life and Times of Cyril Lakin, Editor, Broadcaster and Politician (2021-10)
Andrews, Geoff
Modern Wales
ISBN : 978-1-913640-18-7 | Publisher : Parthian | Published : Cardigan, Wales

Agent Molière: The Life of John Cairncross, the Fifth Man of the Cambridge Spy Circle (2020-02-06)
Andrews, Geoff
ISBN : 978-1-78831-130-4 | Publisher : I. B. Tauris | Published : London

The Shadow Man: At the Heart of the Cambridge Spy Circle (2015-09-29)
Andrews, Geoff
ISBN : 978-1-78453-166-9 | Publisher : I.B.Tauris | Published : London

Slow Food: Una storia tra politica e piacere (2010-04-09)
Andrews, Geoff
ISBN : 978-88-15-13707-4 | Publisher : Il Mulino | Published : Bologna, Italy

The Slow Food Story: Politics and Pleasure (2008)
Andrews, Geoff
ISBN : 978074532744 | Publisher : Pluto Press | Published : London

Not a Normal Country: Italy After Berlusconi (2005-07-20)
Andrews, Geoff
ISBN : 0-7453-2367-7 | Publisher : Pluto Press | Published : London

The Communist Party of Great Britain and Eurocommunism: A Brief Encounter (2016-12-01)
Andrews, Geoff
In: Di Palma, Francesco and Mueller, Wolfgang eds. Kommunismus und Europa: Europapolitik und -vorstellungen europäischer kommunistischer Parteien im Kalten Krieg (pp. 221-240)
ISBN : 978-3-506-77710-2 | Publisher : Ferdinand Schöningh | Published : Paderborn

Ramelson (former name Rachmilevitch), Baruch [Bert], (1910–1994) (2018-10-11)
Andrews, Geoff
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography