It is hard to know how to react to this news article (orginally posted on the old site). On first consideration any historian who posts secret Amazon reviews of his rivals’ books as having “no insights to make it worth the bother of ploughing through its dreadful prose” whilst relflecting that his own work as “rich and deeply moving history, which leaves the reader awed, humbled, yet uplifted” does not deserve much sympathy. However, the real point for us here is that historians have always clashed and not shown each other enough respect.
Have a look at the Guardian article and Robert Service’s view (he is the victim of the false reviews here). Then have a look at the youtube clip of A.J.P.Taylor and Hugh Trevor Roper discussing Taylor’s controversial “Origins of The Second World War”.
A last word.
No schadenfreude please – Figes is still an outstanding historian, who is well worth reading. His body of work speaks for itself, and in particular I would say that few things I have read match “A People’s Tragedy” in conveying the scale and brutality of Russian History. A copy is in the school library…