Jonathan Steinberg came to Penn in January 2000 after more than thirty years at Cambridge University. He has written on twentieth century Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland and also prepared the official report on the Deutsche Bank's gold transactions in the Second World War which appeared in 1999. In 2003 he completed "European History and European Lives, 1715 to 1914," a 36-part series of biographies produced by The Teaching Company. His teaching covers modern Europe since 1789 with specialization in the German and Austrian Empires, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and modern Jewish history. He has also taught graduate and undergraduate seminars in historical thought and method. He also teaches an undergraduate seminar "The Classical Economists from Adam Smith to Keynes."
In April 2011, his Bismarck. A Life was published by Oxford University Press (Oxford and New York) and was reviewed by Henry Kissinger in The New York Times Book Review, who called it ‘the best study of its subject in the English language’. It was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction in July 2011 and for the Duff Cooper Prize for biography in February 2012. It has been translated into German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Romanian, Danish and Portuguese.