Thomas Frank Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford

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Thomas Frank Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford

Immediate Family:

Son of Francis Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford and Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford, CBE
Husband of <private> Pakenham (McNair Scott)
Father of <private> Pakenham; Eliza Chisholm; <private> Pakenham and <private> Pakenham
Brother of Lady Antonia Fraser; Patrick Maurice Pakenham; <private> Kazantiz (Pakenham); Lady Rachel Billington, OBE; <private> Pakenham and 2 others

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Immediate Family

About Thomas Frank Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford

Thomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford (born 14 August 1933), known simply as Thomas Pakenham, is an Irish historian and arborist who has written several prize-winning books on the diverse subjects of Victorian and post-Victorian British history and trees. He is the son of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, a Labour minister and human rights campaigner, and Elizabeth Longford. He has seven siblings , among them Lady Antonia Fraser, a writer who was married to playwright Harold Pinter; Lady Rachel Billington, also a writer and married to director Kevin Billington; Judith Kazantzis, a poet; and Kevin Pakenham, who currently works in the City of London. He is also the cousin of former Labour leader, Harriet Harman.

Thomas Pakenham does not use his title and did not use his courtesy title before succeeding his father. However, he has not disclaimed his British titles under the Peerage Act 1963, and the Irish peerages cannot be disclaimed as they are not covered by the Act. He is unable to sit in the House of Lords as a hereditary peer as his father had, due to the House of Lords Act 1999, though his father was created a life peer in addition to his hereditary title in order to be able to retain his seat.

He married Valerie Susan Scott in 1964 and they have four children:

Lady Anna Maria Pakenham, b. 26 July 1965

Lady Eliza Pakenham, b. 3 November 1966

Edward Melchior Pakenham, Lord Silchester, b. 6 January 1970

Hon. Frederick Augustus Pakenham, b. 27 November 1971


After graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1955 Thomas Pakenham travelled to Ethiopia, a trip which is described in his first book The Mountains of Rasselas. On returning to Britain, he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement and later for the Sunday Telegraph and The Observer. He currently divides his time between London and County Westmeath, Ireland, where he is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society and honorary custodian of Tullynally Castle.

The Scramble for Africa

The Scramble for Africa: The White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 is a comprehensive and popular history of the Scramble for Africa. The book's central theme is the contrast between the humanitarian motives of David Livingstone, and the profit-taking of King Léopold, and how the different players dealt with the conflict. The book addresses underlying motives and economics, without losing sight of the individuals whose personalities and actions drove much of the Scramble. It has been reprinted a number of times since its first appearance in 1990.


Books authored or co-authored by Thomas Pakenham:

The Mountains of Rasselas: Ethiopian Adventure ISBN 0-297-82369-8

The Year of Liberty: The History of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798 ISBN 0-679-74802-4

The Boer War (1979) ISBN 0-349-10466-2 (winner of The Cheltenham Prize)

The Scramble for Africa (1991) ISBN 0-349-10449-2 (winner of the WH Smith Literary Award and the Alan Paton Award)

Meetings with Remarkable Trees (1996) ISBN 0-297-83255-7 (made into a radio and television series of the same name)

Remarkable Trees of the World (2002) ISBN 0-297-84300-1

Remarkable Baobab (2004) ISBN 0-297-84373-7

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Thomas Frank Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford's Timeline

August 14, 1933
Age 32