The Battle of Hastings and Beevor

Two British military history heavyweights are to go head-to-head with epic new publications on the Second World War, reports The Times.

Anthony Beevor and Max Hastings have both been contracted by their publishers to publish 800+ page books in 2012. Beevor’s advance from his publishers is believed to be in the region of £1m. “Max and I are both great friends and great rivals,” said Beevor, whose book will be published in Britain by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. “It’s the whole war and yes, it’s a terrifying prospect.”

Hastings is amazed that narrative military history can command such figures: “I would never have guessed when I started writing about this period more than 30 years ago that this market would still be there,” said Hastings, whose book will be published by HarperCollins.

Colin Smith, an author on Vichy France, thinks that military history has followed phases: “After the war itself, we had the heroic books, usually written by those actually in the war such as Churchill and Monty. Then we had a revisionist period, then a lack of interest with some boring military tactician books, and now a revived interest because of good writing and human stories.”

It is very encouraging to see that military history is becoming so popular once again, both to publishers and readers alike. It is very nice to see, especially as we are so far away from the war now that it is in the living memory of fewer and fewer people. And as we are living in a post-military society, where few people have served in uniform, clearly people with no experience of military service are becoming interested in what happened to their forefathers.

I must profess to being no great fan of Beevor or Hastings. Beevor’s books have sold by the truckload. I have read his books on Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day. Whilst I enjoy his writing style, I cannot help but feel that the lack of substantial new material or hystoriography does not warrant the hype. They are clearly aimed at a general readership. Hastings’s usually offers more research-based writing, but his pugnacious style – as we might expect from a journalist – can be off-putting.

Writing a complete history of the Second World War is a tall order. These are obviously publisher-led books, as no military historian would conceive of covering 6 years worth of battles, on 3 continents and many oceans, and killed millions of people in 800 pages. Modern military historiography as gone beyond the ‘complete history of’ approach. It is far better, surely, to not even attempt it, because the result will almost always be a disappointment. But these names, after all, are names that sell books.

However Beevor’s and Hastings’s books turn out, they will have to go a very long way to eclipse luminaries such as Basil Liddell Hart, John Terraine, Martin Middlebrook, John Keegan or Michael Howard. Or my wildcard entries, Robin Neillands and William Buckingham. I look forward to reading them, but I plan on reading beyond the hype and the name on the spine.

About these ads

16 Comments

Filed under World War Two

16 responses to “The Battle of Hastings and Beevor

  1. Scott Daly

    For a moment there I thought you had done a blog about something medieval…I guess I should have known better! In all seriousness, I dont like the idea of Beevor writing a book about the entire War. His book on Stalingrad was absolutely superb, full of personal accounts of the tragedys and horrors of war. However, with the timeline stretched out over 5 years I think the narrative would be somewhat diluted.

  2. James Daly

    Stalingrad was obviously his high water mark, Berlin wasnt bad, but the D-Day book was pretty disappointing. The best bit about it was the maps.

    Do the maths, 800 pages divided by 5 years is what, 160 pages per year? If a Historian is thinking about their legacy, they’re more likely to be judged on a broader bibliography that treats battles properly rather than one book alone.

    No matter how hard I try I can’t escape the conclusion that both Hastings and Beevor’s books are going to be cash cows.

  3. B.H. CARPENTER

    We’ve reached the point whereby the war gains its role in the long perspective of history. Even in an 800-page narrative, it’s impossible to include all the relevant points. These two authors do pretty well. Hastings brings out the horrors that stood our proud Western heritage on its head; Beavor describes the event as a collection of smaller interrelated wars.

  4. Obviously, an on-line film has been observed by everybody.
    Really what is heavy heroes, soul stirring imagery,
    and a film without stunning scenery? To
    plan ahead for that, C.C has been introduced by
    the Yankees.

  5. The Record of the Dead was released in the year 2008;
    it was directed by George A. So they were some of the best
    British comedies which you may watch when you get time. I went along to the films one other night with a friend.

  6. Vince Vaughn will have you laughing all-night.
    The flicks is all about the challenges experienced by Jack as he handles
    his sister. What are a number of strengths to develop your own
    system?

  7. After all, truly know, by picture, everybody they are keeping watch over?

    What’s different may be the weight and feel. You’ll also reap the benefits of frequent contact with AT&T.

  8. With jailbreak Apple iphone 3GS you can set up
    programs of 3rd celebration on your gadget.
    Its screen is broader so as to maximize visible capability.
    There can’t be a clear winner to the query as to which design appears much better.

  9. Apple is known for its top quality price technique.
    In case your Iphone gets locked, you truly do not need a new
    Apple iphone. With a small work, you can pull and drive the system.

  10. It is made in such a way that your slim Apple iphone can be
    fitted very effortlessly. Jetpack Jailbreak is a flash animation sport created by Newgrounds.com user Petar Hristov (powwer).

  11. Atkins also emphasized the necessity of discovering your own personal
    specific carbohydrate degree. May your diet really help you control, if
    not cure, your problem. You wish to understand how to cure
    diabetes.

  12. Having wifi frequent exploration and wanting to connect
    to unknown sources wifi drains the battery. The device is fully adjustable, having 360 degree remarkable turn attribute for portrait and landscape
    views.

  13. As you do it, you then have to wait for a few seconds for the notification concept to
    appear. But he also warns that do not submit any application to the App shop.
    Android was built to be open up from the jump.

  14. With the contemporary designing of the homes, there are a lot of geometric shapes used in them.
    A new door can exponentially increase your curb appeal andd freshen up the look of your
    home. After you have invented the final figures, make
    sure that your preswnt and future business prospects will not find it too difficult to service the home renlvation loan.

  15. With the help of a slingshot, the game entails a flock of
    birds attempting to retrieve their eggs. With
    chat clients that use data connectivity, that’s not the situation. At first that does not audio extremely unique, does it?

  16. Making use of this method, there’s no desktop pc or some other application necessary.
    This is not the exact same app that was around then, nevertheless.

    TrialPay utilizes cash from the advertiser to pay for your item.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s