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What is progress?

William Doyle, 6 March 1986

What is history? 
by E.H. Carr, edited by R.W. Davies.
Macmillan, 154 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 38956 5
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... I never knew E.H. Carr. I never heard him lecture, even on the radio. But I once saw him in Cambridge, and that was memorable enough. The History of Soviet Russia, begun when he was in his fifties and finished in his eighties, would have been enough to make him a legend, and no doubt he would regard it as his monument ...

What one clerk said to another

A.J.P. Taylor, 18 February 1982

Britain and the Cold War 1941-1947 
by Victor Rothwell.
Cape, 551 pp., £16, January 1982, 0 224 01478 1
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... the Times when expressing the views of that former member of the Foreign Office, Professor E.H. Carr. Rothwell says apologetically: ‘At the very least, to study British foreign policy from the standpoint of Foreign Office officials can scarcely be an invalid exercise.’ I doubt whether this book tells the reader much about British foreign policy and its ...

History and the Left

Jonathan Haslam, 4 April 1985

The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War 
by E.H. Carr, edited by Tamara Deutscher.
Macmillan, 111 pp., £17.50, December 1984, 0 333 36952 1
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The British Marxist Historians: An Introductory Analysis 
by Harvey Kaye.
Polity, 316 pp., £22.50, November 1984, 0 7456 0015 8
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Worlds of Labour: Further Studies in the History of Labour 
by Eric Hobsbawm.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £15.95, October 1984, 0 297 78509 5
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The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill. Vol. I: Writing and Revolution in 17th-Century England 
Harvester, 340 pp., £28.50, February 1985, 0 7108 0565 9Show More
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... In 1977 E.H. Carr completed his 14-volume History of Soviet Russia. He had embarked on an intellectual day excursion but found himself on a major expedition through a dark continent of knowledge. He had originally intended – as far back as 1944 – to spend no more than three years in the field. It turned out to be thirty-three ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Hungarians and Falklanders, 17 February 1983

... of Books. I cannot hold back from doing so now. In my opinion, Norman Stone’s article on E.H. Carr was wrong at almost every point. I am not well enough versed in Russian and Soviet history to judge how much justice there is in Stone’s criticism of Carr’s major work – I should guess a good deal. But ...

Better to bend the stick too far

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The history of Russia, 4 February 1999

A History of 20th-Century Russia 
by Robert Service.
Allen Lane, 654 pp., £25, July 1998, 0 7139 9148 8
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... perspective. Service’s forte is political history in the tradition established by E.H. Carr in his multi-volume History of Soviet Russia, where politics means process rather than ideology, served up with generous portions of economic and international context and some garnishes of society and culture. Service has, of course, made use of the opening ...

Statue of Liberty

Norman Stone, 7 July 1983

The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government 
by Roberta Thompson Manning.
Princeton, 555 pp., £35.30, February 1983, 0 691 05349 9
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Mikhail Bakunin: A Study in the Psychology and Politics of Utopianism 
by Aileen Kelly.
Oxford, 320 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 0 19 827244 8
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... of Sir Isaiah Berlin’s works). He arrives with immense revolutionary credentials: E.H. Carr, whose Bakunin was his own favourite book, called him ‘one of the completest embodiments in history of the spirit of liberty’. Dr Kelly rather dislikes her subject: ‘Like all romantics who make the attainment of some form of spontaneous existence the ...

Unfair to Stalin

Robert Service, 17 March 1988

Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Collins, 254 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 00 215660 1
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The Birth of Stalinism: The USSR on the Eve of the ‘Second Revolution’ 
by Michal Reiman, translated by George Saunders.
Tauris, 188 pp., £24.50, November 1987, 1 85043 066 7
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Stalin in October: The Man who Missed the Revolution 
by Robert Slusser.
Johns Hopkins, 281 pp., £20.25, December 1987, 0 8018 3457 0
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... Perhaps a balance needs to be struck between the pessimism about the NEP typical of the late E.H. Carr and the warmth for it expressed by historian-reformers in the Soviet Union and by Stephen Cohen in the USA. The merit of Reiman’s book lies elsewhere. E.H. Carr, whatever one thinks of his general analysis (and readers ...

Leader-Bashing

Robert Service, 24 January 1991

The Russian Revolution 1899-1919 
by Richard Pipes.
Harvill, 946 pp., £20, December 1990, 0 00 272086 8
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... to the traditions of the earliest Sovietology has occurred. Founding figures such as E.H. Carr and Leonard Schapiro were renowned for their ability to write as knowledgeably about 1917 as about the latest political developments. Once again it is thought absurd to hold the Soviet past – which is only seven decades old – and the Soviet present in ...

Prodigious Powers

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 21 January 1982

The Greeks and their Heritages 
by Arnold Toynbee.
Oxford, 334 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 19 215256 4
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... that they were defeated by the Turks: Toynbee displays the same servility towards success as E.H. Carr. He has an interesting appendix on Gemistos Plethon, but exaggerates his inclination to paganism and underestimates the influence of his philosophy. A few pages of Edgar Wind’s Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance supply a corrective in both matters. After ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp, 23 July 1987

A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... refuses to talk to her, it is ‘a great piece of luck for me’; she notes that Taylor and E.H. Carr ‘once executed together’ one of Beloff’s students. Like her husband, Eva Taylor is sparing with physical description – neither of them, she says, have ‘imaginative minds’ – but her factual summaries carry their own illumination of English life ...

Taylorism

Norman Stone, 22 January 1981

Politicians, Socialism and Historians 
by A.J.P. Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 241 10486 6
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A.J.P. Taylor: A Complete Annotated Bibliography 
by Chris Wrigley.
Harvester, 607 pp., £35, August 1980, 0 85527 981 8
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... prolific, on a wider range of subjects, than any of his contemporaries except perhaps for E.H. Carr. He has written two standard works of reference in Oxford series: English History 1914-1945 and The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918 – now a generation old, but still the best place to go if you want to know what, say, the Schleswig-Holstein ...

What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Russian Revolution, 29 March 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
by China Miéville.
Verso, 358 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 78478 280 1
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The Russian Revolution 1905-1921 
by Mark D. Steinberg.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 922762 4
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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 
by S.A. Smith.
Oxford, 455 pp., £25, January 2017, 978 0 19 873482 6
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The Russian Revolution: A New History 
by Sean McMeekin.
Basic, 496 pp., $30, May 2017, 978 0 465 03990 6
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Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution 
by Tony Brenton.
Profile, 364 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 78125 021 1
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... and Steinberg’s chapter on ‘Overcoming Empire’). In the 1960s, it was self-evident to E.H. Carr, as well as to his opponents like Leonard Schapiro, that the Russian Revolution mattered. It mattered to Schapiro because it had imposed a new political tyranny on Russia that threatened the free world, and to Carr because ...

Grim Eminence

Norman Stone, 10 January 1983

The Twilight of the Comintern 1930-1935 
by E.H. Carr.
Macmillan, 436 pp., £25, December 1982, 0 333 33062 5
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... The historian Edward Hallett Carr died on 3 November 1982, at the age of 90. He had an oddly laconic obituary in the Times, which missed out a great deal. If he had died ten years before, his death would probably have been noticed a great deal more, for Carr was an eminent left-wing historian, had a huge record of publication, and had embarked, 35 years before his death, on a History of Soviet Russia which has been described as ‘monumental’ and ‘a classic ...

Church and State

R.F. Leslie, 20 May 1982

God’s Playground: A History of Poland, Vol 1., The Origins to 1745, Vol. 11, 1745 to the Present 
by Norman Davies.
Oxford, 605 pp., £27.50, December 1981, 0 19 822555 5
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... with its first sentence. Dr Davies is extremely critical of Lloyd George, Keynes, Namier and E.H. Carr for their views on the Polish state which arose in 1918-19 and ‘cannot help speculating about their dubious motives.’ He wonders ‘why, from beginning to end, the Polish Republic should have provoked such torrents of abuse from all sides’. He claims ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Alan Taylor, Oxford Don, 8 May 1986

... to draw up a long list of distinguished historians turned down for jobs in Oxford – Namier, E.H. Carr, and a number still living whom it would be unfair to name. The real point is surely rather different. In terms of the prevailing Oxford norms, Alan was a maverick. At any one time the reputation of the university rests quite heavily on such mavericks, so ...

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