Richard J. Evans
Daniel Snowman meets the historian of Germany, defender of history and expert witness in the Irving trial.
Richard Evans may be Professor of Modern History at Cambridge but that doesn’t stop him receiving periodic bouts of hate mail and Internet opprobrium. It’s flattering in a way, for Evans has emerged as one of the most prominent knights in the field to champion the honour and integrity of history against attack. And woe betide those on the receiving end. Whether charging against the wilder claims of postmodernism or of counterfactual history or, most famously, puncturing the view of Nazi history presented in the works of David Irving, Evans’ well-honed lance can be deadly. The recent reissue of his book In Defence of History includes an extensive Afterword in which Evans robustly takes on critics from all parts of the field and, in many cases, trounces them. His painstaking trawl through Irving’s sources in the notorious libel trial against Deborah Lipstadt played a pivotal part in Irving’s downfall.