Friday, February 27, 2009

When it's Cool to be a Historian

I read the following paragraph recently from Martin Gilbert's A History of the Twentieth Century (Volume Three, 1952-1999) and thought about how much fun he must have had writing it.

The section is about the invasion of Kuwait by the army of Iraq in 1990 and the response of the global community to it. Quoting President Bush (senior) from his memoirs, Gilbert writes:

"In the first few weeks of the crisis, I happened to be reading a book on World War II by the British historian Martin Gilbert. I saw a direct analogy between what was occurring in Kuwait and what the Nazis had done, especially in Poland....I saw a chilling parallel with what the Iraqi occupiers were doing in Kuwait."

I can imagine a fictitious conversation in the future:

What did you do during the war, granddad?

Well son, I used the excellent facilities of Merton College, Oxford to write books that influenced world leaders. Now bring me my slippers, there's a good lad.


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