A. J. P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe

A. J. P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe

C. J. Wrigley

Language: English

Pages: 449


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A scholar gentleman in the old style; a northern non-conforming radical; an academic steeped in Oxford traditions; a late-20th century media personality; one of the most outstanding historians of his age: A.J.P. Taylor was all these things. He wrote about traditional historical subjects in a traditional manner and took narrative history to new heights and was equally at home with a critical academic, as with a vast popular, audience. C.J. Wrigley's new biographical study includes fascinating and hitherto unknown details of Taylor's privileged and cosseted childhood, the effect of his close but combative and stimulating family, the dissenting and nonconformist tradition, and his time as a teacher, broadcaster journalist and historian.

Retail-like quality, pages numbered,OCR'ed,front cover

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discursive way…about modern history’. For his first year only Alan Taylor wrote his lectures in full; it was hard and lengthy work, even if he drew them from a few textbooks. He had had immense practice in arguing rigorously at home but not in lecturing. He quickly learned how to be effective in front of a hundred students, and a key part of this was not to rely heavily on notes. The author Anthony Burgess, a first-year English student in 1937–38, recalled in his autobiography, ‘A.J.P. Taylor

today. The book will also suggest that the student of world politics should draw for their rules of interpretation rather less on Marx and rather more on Machiavelli.’ Others were more critical. Gavin Henderson in History complained, ‘What should have been a most tentative hypothesis is described throughout the book – in the title, the text and even the index – as unassailable fact.’ In the Oxford Magazine Richard Pares suggested he exaggerated his main hypothesis and reprimanded him for his

After suggesting when they met they should both keep off the subject of Russia, he wrote, I really would like to say what terrible grief and pain your late articles about Russia cause your friends, but then what’s the good? We all have to do pretty unpleasant things to raise money and it’s not for me to tell you how you should or shouldn’t finance yourself. When my Manchester friends bring up your articles, I just say – I didn’t love Malcolm because he was a Bolshevik and I don’t hate him now

country; this reluctance he ascribed to their fear of losing their property, though it was perhaps due even more to the political immaturity of the German middle classes and to the tenacious defence by the dynasties of their inherited position. He went on to discuss Marx’s view that the working class would provide leaders to bring about ‘the revolution which the liberals had failed to achieve’. Then, in his account, Taylor gave his approval of Marx’s revolutionary credentials: For Marx was a

with his parents. In 1924 he went with his mother and Henry Sara to Berlin and other parts of Germany, followed by Paris. In the summer of 1925 the three went to Soviet Russia, returning via Riga and Berlin. In addition he went on school trips to Normandy. Hence journeys to continental Europe, often lengthy ones, became for him a norm, just as it was customary for the family to migrate to Borrowdale, Buttermere or Hawkshead in the Lake District or elsewhere for part of the summer. In later life

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