Robert Wohl

Robert Wohl is an authority on generations: a professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of The Generation of 1914.

Great Warrior

Robert Wohl, 21 January 1982

What comes to mind when we hear the name Marc Bloch? A great medievalist whose studies of feudal society are still read and admired today? The co-founder with Lucien Febvre of a journal, the Annales, which has given its name to a new school of history with proponents all over the world? A gallant and unyielding résistant who affirmed his Jewish heritage in the face of virulent anti-semitism and died at the hands of a German firing-squad in 1944 crying: ‘Vive la France’?

World’s End

Robert Wohl, 21 May 1981

How good is Barbara Tuchman’s history? In one respect, the question is irrelevant because her readers have already answered it by purchasing hundreds of thousands of copies of her books. This fact alone might tempt the ‘serious’ student of history to dismiss her. But leaving aside her two Pulitzer prizes and her mountain of admiring reviews – many by distinguished and indisputably serious historians – Tuchman is not so easily dismissed. Broad in scope, ambitious in conception, carefully researched, her books make considerable demands on the reader, not the least of which is a willingness to pursue in minute detail topics as untrendy as the doctrinal disputes of pre-First World War socialists or the social and economic consequences of the Black Plague. That she has escalated her demands during the last twenty years while enlarging the circle of her readers suggests that she is a woman of distinctive talents.

Do Not Fool Around

E.S. Turner, 24 November 1994

The man of the year in 1909 was Louis Blériot, in whom I have a personal interest, since I was a five-month foetus at the time of his cross-Channel flight. Notoriously, this exploit showed...

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Frank Kermode, 19 June 1980

‘Generationalism’, as Mr Wohl designates the practice of thinking about history and society in terms of the characteristics attributed, usually by themselves, to members of particular...

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