Congratulations on the medal [-- Keegan is seen in our picture receiving his knighthood on May 3, 2000 --] , and thank you very much for your reply about giving evidence in my libel action, notwithstanding which I should like to keep up the pressure on you to give, briefly (1 -- 2 hours), evidence as an expert on the writing of history of World War II, and the various books that have been written about it, and about the importance of reputation to an author. The defendant in this action, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, has written in the very first paragraph of her Defence:
It is admitted that the Plaintiff is a well-known writer, and the author of a biography Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich (hereinafter referred to as "the Goebbels book"). It is denied that the Plaintiff is an historian.
I am impressed by your reference in your works to Chester Wilmot, whose work I read from cover to cover shortly after it appeared; he had unusually good sources, considering how early it was written. William Shirer's was also good, for the same reason, if the bias be disregarded.
The advantage of the present legal system is that the witness cannot be called upon to testify about any matters not set out in advance in his written statement, nor can he be cross-examined on them. It is not of course expected that you would share all or indeed any of my views, though they are a lot less offensive than I am given credit for.
If I can persuade you, I would merely ask you to describe some of the pitfalls of writing history from primary or secondary sources, and give an expert opinion from your own exalted standpoint on the value, if any, of my own humble writings on Hitler, Goebbels, and other luminaries of that period. Would you perhaps like to call round here one day shortly (I am just off Grosvenor Square), for a chat? I am off to the USA for many weeks on April 27, and hope to get all these things tied up a week before then.
FOCAL POINT PUBLICATIONS
Dr John Keegan (please forward)