Anthony Summers' father rose from humble beginnings as a delivery man and spare-time drummer and singer to the rank of Royal Air Force Squadron Leader in World War II. His mother, a baker's daughter, had been poised for success as a serious actress -until life and the War got in the way. Together, they gave Anthony the launch they had never had: an English public school - he loathed every minute of it - followed by Oxford University.  He did little work as a student, dabbled in college theatre, clashed with his parents - over a girlfriend - and ran out of money. Work took him from labouring on building sites to freelance reporting for London newspapers. As a very junior hack, he got to cover Sir Winston Churchill's funeral, observing the cortege from halfway up a lamppost. 
Career Beginnings
No real qualification, but a lucky break, took him to work as a researcher for Britain's first tabloid TV programme, "World in Action", on to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (writing radio news for both its listeners in Africa), and then to BBC Television. Zeal, obstinacy, a readiness to work eight days a week, and a little courage (or was it foolhardiness?) won Summers a decade covering the stories of the 1960s and 70's.

He travelled the world, covering wars - the Yemen, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon - working at home in the studio only when the higher ups forced him to stay home. In the course of a single year, he made films on the Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinations, Che Guevara's execution in Bolivia, the police killing of students on the eve of the Mexico City Olympics, and the Charles Manson case. His documentary work included specials on the history and culture of the people of Palestine and Vietnam. He smuggled camera equipment into the Soviet Union to obtain an exclusive interview with dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov - then under house arrest - at the time Sakharov won the Nobel Prize.

Before turning thirty, Summers rejoiced in the title - Senior Film Producer - in BBC Current Affairs. He would leave as an Assistant Editor of the "Panorama" programme. It had been a young man's dream, and helped ruin a first marriage.

Work as an Author

In 1973, sobered by the death of a colleague in the Yom Kippur war, which he had himself covered, Summers took a year out to write a first book - improbably on the fate of the Russian Imperial family. The project took him to Ireland, where his roots were and where he had spent time as a child. Summers hoped the planned book, "The File on the Tsar", might earn him enough to buy a new car. Instead it went to the top of the bestseller list.
Today, with ten books under his belt, he is still in Ireland, still writing. An Irish citizen, he is married to longtime colleague and co-author Robbyn Swan. They live in a converted ferryman's cottage on the banks of the River Blackwater. Anthony Summers has six children -and five grandchildren.
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