By C. J. Wrigley

A student gentleman within the old-fashioned; a northern non-conforming radical; a tutorial steeped in Oxford traditions; a late-20th century media character; essentially the most impressive historians of his age: A.J.P. Taylor used to be these kind of issues. He wrote approximately conventional old topics in a conventional demeanour and took narrative historical past to new heights and used to be both at domestic with a serious educational, as with an enormous well known, viewers. C.J. Wrigley's new biographical research comprises attention-grabbing and hitherto unknown information of Taylor's privileged and cosseted formative years, the impression of his shut yet combative and stimulating kinfolk, the dissenting and nonconformist culture, and his time as a instructor, broadcaster journalist and historian.

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Additional resources for A. J. P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe

Sample text

Quite possibly he was the strongest intellectual influence on him until Lewis Namier. Nonetheless, Taylor also appears to have seen Harry Thompson and Henry Sara as competitors for his mother’s attention and esteem. Faced with the heroic pair of conscientious objectors, he made much of the unpleasant features of The Downs. He hated the ‘rigidity and rules’ and felt persecuted because ‘we were timed over everything’, from the moment they got up in the morning. His uncle kindly humoured him, observing: ‘Prison was nothing like as bad as that.

L. Rowse, and remaining ‘a freak member on a special university list’, rather than starting an Oriel College group. One appeal of the Labour Club, according to his later reminiscences, was that it was the one place Oriel males met the opposite sex. At the Labour Club meetings he took a hard Left stance, impressing the future Labour MP for Stroud, Ben Parkin. His arguments also led to Ieuan Thomas approaching him to join the Communist Party. This he did. It was a case of putting up or shutting up.

His sister, Kathleen, had been immediately impressed by his performance when she debated against him, later recalling that, while she had prepared her speech rather like an essay and half read it, ‘his idea was much better, much more lively’, using notes and contesting points she had made. That he was the Bootham choice to be its main speaker was indicative of how highly regarded his intellectual and debating skills were, while the other Bootham speaker was a member of the Rowntree family, Geoffrey (who seconded Kathleen Constable).

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