Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings (born 28 December 1945) is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. His parents were Macdonald Hastings, the noted journalist and war correspondent, and Anne Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper's Bazaar.
Hastings was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year. Whilst most of his immediate family were educated at Stonyhurst, it was his cousin Sir Stephen Hastings who became his abiding ally. Thus he set off for the United States, spending a year (1967–68) as a Fellow of the World Press Institute, following which he published his first book, America, 1968: The Fire This Time, an account of the US in its tumultuous election year. He became a foreign correspondent and reported from more than sixty countries and eleven wars for BBC TV's 24 hours current affairs programme and for the Evening Standard in London. Hastings was the first journalist to enter the liberated Port Stanley during the 1982 Falklands War. After ten years as editor and then editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, he returned to the Evening Standard as editor in 1996 until his retirement in 2002. He received a knighthood in 2002. He was elected a member of the elite political dining society known as The Other Club in 1993.
He has presented historical documentaries for the BBC and is the author of many books, including Bomber Command which earned the Somerset Maugham Award for non-fiction in 1980. Both Overlord and The Battle for the Falklands won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year prize. He was named Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year at the 1982 British Press Awards, and Editor Of The Year in 1988. In 2010 he received the Royal United Services Institute's Westminster Medal for his 'lifelong contribution to military literature', and the same year the Edgar Wallace Award from the London Press Club. In 2012 he received the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The award includes an honorarium, citation and medallion, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation.
Hastings is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Historical Society. He was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England from 2002-2007.
In his 2007 book Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 (also known as Retribution in the United States), the chapter on Australia's role in the last year of the Pacific War was criticised by the Returned and Services League of Australia and one of the historians at the Australian War Memorial for, among other things, allegedly exaggerating discontent in the Australian Army during this period.
Hastings currently writes a column for the Daily Mail but often contributes articles to other publications such as The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The New York Review of Books. In 2012 he was awarded the $100,000 US Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, a lifetime achievement award for military writing.
He lives at Hungerford in West Berkshire with his second wife Penny (née Levinson). Hastings has a surviving son and daughter by his first wife, Patricia Edmondson (divorced 1994). In 2000 his 27-year-old elder son Charles took his own life at Ningbo, China. He dedicated his book Nemesis: The Battle For Japan 1944-45 to his son's memory.