At the age of 17 he emigrated to the USA where he held many different jobs, including irrigation ditch digging and mail delivery. He also worked as a cowboy, farmer and later as a newspaper reporter.
He returned to England for a short period of time in 1889, after which he moved to Paris where he worked for the English language newspaper, the “Daily Messenger”. He was also a correspondent for a number of American newspapers. From 1905 to 1912, he was the editor of the Paris edition of the “Daily Mail”.
After returning to England in 1920 he joined the Labour Party. He continued his work as a journalist and writer, and from 1928 to 1931 he was the chief editor of “Foreign Affairs”. From 1929 to 1931, Norman Angell was a member of parliament representing the Labour Party. In 1931 he was knighted for his public service. He was a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs, co-executive for the World Committee against War and Fascism and a member of the Executive Committee of the League of Nations.
His most famous work, translated into many languages, was “The Great Illusion” from 1910. In the book, Angell tried to show faults in the belief that wars and conquest secure economic advantage, lebensraum and access to markets, as well as resources.