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Schools of History

Walter Laqueur, 26 September 1991

Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives 
by Alan Bullock.
HarperCollins, 1187 pp., £20, June 1991, 0 00 215494 3
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Stalin: Breaker of Nations 
by Robert Conquest.
Weidenfeld, 346 pp., £18.99, September 1991, 0 297 81194 0
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... About Hitler I can’t think of anything to say,’ thus Karl Kraus in a famous aside in 1935. But a great deal has been said about him ever since and no one has been better at saying it than Alan Bullock. His Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, published in 1952, is still the best biography, and one of the best books on the Nazi phenomenon in general. Only a very few other works come to mind which are in the same league: Konrad Heiden’s history of the Nazi Party and his Hitler biography – but they appeared in 1932 and 1936 respectively – and Joachim Fest’s fine work of 1972 ...

German Jew

Michael Irwin, 17 April 1980

The Missing Years 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 281 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 297 77707 6
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Jack be nimble 
by Nigel Williams.
Secker, 213 pp., £5.50, March 1980, 0 436 57155 2
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Identity Papers 
by Anthony Cronin.
Co-op Books, 194 pp., £4.50, February 1980, 0 905441 23 0
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Narrow Rooms 
by James Purdy.
Black Sheep Books, 185 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 906538 60 2
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Six Moral Tales 
by Eric Rohmer, translated by Sabine d’Estrée.
Lorrimer, 252 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 85647 075 9
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... Twenties and Thirties to desperately precarious survival in Berlin during the Second World War. Walter Laqueur is Director of the Institute of Contemporary History, and effectively The Missing Years, his first novel, is history masquerading as fiction masquerading as autobiography. The fictional impulse seems slight: Dr Lasson, scarcely ...

Who knew?

Norman Stone, 20 November 1980

The Terrible Secret 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 262 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 297 77835 8
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... for instance, gave plenty of opportunity for passive resistance and quietly effective sabotage. Walter Laqueur has set himself the uncontroversial task of finding out whether in 1941-42 people did know of the Final Solution, and when. He discusses documentary, press and radio evidence, drawn from many sources, and his book is divided into sections that ...

Mirror Images

Christopher Andrew, 3 April 1986

World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 297 78745 4
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... While writing World of Secrets, Walter Laqueur had discussions with the present and all surviving past directors of the Central Intelligence Agency save one, as well as with other senior Intelligence official and their main customers. Such goings-on would be unthinkable, or at the very least unavowable, in Britain ...

Soviet Revisions

Oleg Gordievsky, 7 February 1991

Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy 
by Dmitri Volkogonov, edited and translated by Harold Shukman.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £29.95, February 1991, 0 297 81080 4
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Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 383 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 0 04 440769 6
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The Prosecutor and the Prey: Vyshinsky and the 1930s Moscow Show Trials 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by Jan Butler.
Weidenfeld, 374 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 297 81064 2
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... and began to pace up and down his large study, as usual holding his unlit pipe in his hand.’ Walter Laqueur’s book is concise, free of false stereotypes and logically argued. Each statement has a source reference, and the work rests on a solid knowledge of the history of the Soviet Union, accumulated by ...
The Age of Terrorism 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £17.95, March 1987, 9780297791157
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The Baader-Meinhof Group: The Inside Story of a Phenomenon 
by Stefan Aust, translated by Anthea Bell.
Bodley Head, 552 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 370 31031 4
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... In the first few pages of Walter Laqueur’s The Age of Terrorism (largely a reworking and updating of his 1977 work, Terrorism), the author attempts to confront the old adage that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.’ Laqueur will have none of it: Of all the observations on terrorism this is surely one of the tritest ...

Diary

Thomas Laqueur: My Dead Fathers, 7 September 2006

... black granite tombstone in the Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg, an Elysium of the burgher dead: ‘Walter Laqueur MD’ is inscribed in Jugendstil characters, the same lettering in which ‘Dr Laqueur’ appears on the plaque that was once outside his radiology office and is now on my gate in Berkeley. There were also ...

Point of Principle

Michael Irwin, 2 April 1981

The Country 
by David Plante.
Gollancz, 159 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 575 02938 2
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The Radiant Future 
by Alexander Zinoviev, translated by Gordon Clough.
Bodley Head, 287 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 370 30219 2
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Farewell to Europe 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 310 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 0 297 77870 6
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... The Country, which is concerned with old age, death and family bereavement, is adroitly restricted to an account of four visits. The first two, at intervals of a year, are paid by Daniel Francoeur, an American writer long resident in London, to his aging parents in Rhode Island. He finds them unhappy, constrained by repressed hostility and old disappointments ...

Supreme Kidnap

James Fox, 20 March 1980

Fortune’s Hostages 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 256 pp., £8.95, January 1980, 0 241 10320 7
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... then so, it appears, have the prospects for conducting a successful guerrilla war.’ She quotes Walter Laqueur: Guerrilla war may not entirely disappear ... but it is on the decline, together with its traditional foes – colonialism on the one hand, and liberal democracy on the other. Thus the function of guerrilla movements is reverting to what it ...

Russians and the Russian Past

John Barber, 9 November 1989

The Long Road to Freedom: Russia and Glasnost 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 325 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 04 440343 7
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Glasnost in Action: Cultural Renaissance in Russia 
by Alec Nove.
Unwin Hyman, 251 pp., £15, September 1989, 9780044453406
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Soviet History in the Gorbachev Revolution 
by R.W. Davies.
Macmillan, 232 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 49741 4
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Beyond Perestroika: The Future of Gorbachev’s USSR 
by Ernest Mandel, translated by Gus Fagan.
Verso, 214 pp., £34.95, May 1989, 9780860912231
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Perestroika in Perspective: The Design and Dilemmas of Soviet Reform 
by Padma Desai.
Tauris, 138 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 1 85043 141 8
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... of three new books by experienced analysts of Soviet history and society. The most wide-ranging is Walter Laqueur’s. Against a background of Russian and Soviet history, and drawing on an impressive quantity of Soviet and Western sources, he assesses glasnost’s impact on culture, politics, historical debate, the economy, social problems and foreign ...

Lectures about Heaven

Thomas Laqueur: Forgiving Germany, 7 June 2007

Five Germanys I Have Known 
by Fritz Stern.
Farrar, Straus, 560 pp., £11.25, July 2007, 978 0 374 53086 0
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... his career by studying the Enlightenment, sexuality and psychoanalysis. No cathexis on Germany. Walter Laqueur, roughly Stern’s age and like him from Breslau, says that he felt remarkably at home when he returned after the war. But, he writes in his autobiography, ‘I did not find German postwar politics and culture particularly fascinating; in any ...

Thinking without a Banister

James Miller, 19 October 1995

Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger 
by Elzbieta Ettinger.
Yale, 139 pp., £10.95, October 1995, 0 300 06407 1
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Essays in Understanding, 1930-1954: Uncollected and Unpublished Works 
by Hannah Arendt, edited by Jerome Kohn.
Harcourt Brace, 458 pp., $39.95, May 1994, 0 15 172817 8
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Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought 
by Margaret Canovan.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £12.95, September 1995, 0 521 47773 5
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Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy 
edited by Carol Brightman.
Secker, 412 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 436 20251 4
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Hannah Arendt/Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 1926-1969 
edited by Lotte Kohler and Hans Saner, translated by Robert and Rita Kimber.
Harcourt Brace, 821 pp., $49.95, November 1992, 0 15 107887 4
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... scholarship. Trying to explain the outrage felt by many Jewish readers of Eichmann in Jerusalem, Walter Laqueur suggested that it was not so much what she had said, but how she had said it: ‘The Holocaust is a subject that has to be confronted in a spirit of humility; whatever Mrs Arendt’s many virtues, humility was not one of them.’ Born in ...

Germans and the German Past

J.P. Stern, 21 December 1989

The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity 
by Charles Maier.
Harvard, 227 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 674 92975 6
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Historikerstreit 
Piper, 397 pp., DM 17.80, July 1987, 3 492 10816 4Show More
In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape from the Nazi Past 
by Richard Evans.
Tauris, 196 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 1 85043 146 9
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Why did the heavens not darken? 
by Arno Mayer.
Verso, 510 pp., £19.95, October 1989, 0 86091 267 1
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A German Identity, 1770-1990 
by Harold James.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £16.95, March 1989, 9780297795049
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Die Republikaner: Phantombild der neuen Rechten 
by Claus Leggewie.
Rotbuch, 155 pp., May 1989, 3 88022 011 5
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Ich war dabei 
by Franz Schönhuber.
Langen Müller, 356 pp., April 1989, 3 7844 2249 7
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... as the more accurate designation of the events; and he rejects the term ‘Holocaust’ (as Walter Laqueur did before him), a word that has petrified into an empty cliché since it was given currency by an American television show. What was done to the Jews, Mayer rightly observes, has nothing to do with the word’s traditional meaning: they were ...

Holocaust History

Geoff Eley, 3 March 1983

... other records, the international dimension has now been treated in works by Bernard Wasserstein, Walter Laqueur and Martin Gilbert.Some areas still require further research. In response partly to the outrageous claims made by David Irving, there has recently been some discussion of the exact timing and authorship of the specific decisions to exterminate ...

Why name a ship after a defeated race?

Thomas Laqueur: New Lives of the ‘Titanic’, 24 January 2013

The Wreck of the ‘Titan’ 
by Morgan Robertson.
Hesperus, 85 pp., £8, March 2012, 978 1 84391 359 7
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Shadow of the ‘Titanic’ 
by Andrew Wilson.
Simon and Schuster, 392 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 84739 882 6
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‘Titanic’ 100th Anniversary Edition: A Night Remembered 
by Stephanie Barczewski.
Continuum, 350 pp., £15.99, December 2011, 978 1 4411 6169 7
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The Story of the Unsinkable ‘Titanic’: Day by Day Facsimile Reports 
by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton.
Transatlantic, 127 pp., £16.99, November 2011, 978 1 907176 83 8
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‘Titanic’ Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 404 pp., £9.99, September 2012, 978 0 00 732166 7
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage 
by Hugh Brewster.
Robson, 338 pp., £20, March 2012, 978 1 84954 179 4
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‘Titanic’ Calling 
edited by Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth.
Bodleian, 163 pp., £14.99, April 2012, 978 1 85124 377 8
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... travellers because she was a replica of her ill-fated kin, a relic of the lost age of innocence. Walter Lord, who wrote the 1955 classic A Night to Remember, which, as Andrew Wilson says in his wonderful retellings of survivors’ stories, marks the beginning of the modern era of Titanic myth and memory, sailed on her as a boy. (The Olympic had her share of ...

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