James read Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he took a First. Since then he has worked in Westminster in politics, as a leader-writer for the Daily Telegraph, in the City and most recently in Paris. Today he lives in London. His book on Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Revolt, Setting the Desert on Fire, was first published in 2006. In A Line In The Sand he picks out a key theme of that book – the rivalry between Britain and France for dominance in the Middle East – and describes how this little-known struggle transformed the Middle East, from the destruction of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War to the violent birth of the state of Israel in 1948. During the research for this book he was a visiting fellow at St Antony’s College.