History Today Subscription Offer

Michael Burleigh: The Sceptical Realist

The acclaimed historian Michael Burleigh talks to Paul Lay about his influences, working methods, the need for historians to engage in public policy and why he is relieved to be free from academic bureaucracy. 

Historian Michel BurleighWhen I arrive at Michael Burleigh’s house, barely a lofted six from the Oval Cricket Ground, he has just returned from a fishing trip to the Dominican Republic. Burleigh has a passion for fishing and for painting too – the evocative Suffolk landscapes of Patrick George are dotted around the house, as are recent efforts by David Hockney, sent by email; acts of solidarity between two unrepentant smokers. But apart from these simple pleasures, Burleigh is a man who lives to work, writing and reading six days a week, forsaking breakfast and lunch. The result is a prodigious output of acclaimed, award-winning histories which confront many of the most challenging issues of our time: euthanasia, genocide, terrorism, the nature of religion, globalisation. His latest opus, Moral Combat (HarperPress, 2010) has been as well received as any of his offerings, most criticism being reserved for its somewhat misleading subtitle, A History of World War II.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.

 

X

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week