A Canadian biographer, historian, essayist, critic, poet, and anarchist, he is known for his 1962 work, Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. His other publications include The Anarchist Prince, Victoria, and Faces of India: A Travel Narrative.
He was born in Manitoba, Canada, but he lived in England for much of his childhood.
He spent the World War II years at an Oregon camp for conscientious objectors.
He was the son of Arthur Woodcock and Margaret Lewis. His wife was named Inga.
He met the Dalai Lama while doing charity work in Tibet and India.