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Posted Monday, October 27, 2003

May, 2004

    Book Review: THE COMING OF THE THIRD REICH by Richard J Evans, Allen Lane £25 pp 622.

The Descent Into Barbarism

by Abraham Brumberg

 [Extract only]

FEW of those who followed the David Irving libel trial held in London three [sic. four] years ago could avoid being struck by the calm but towering presence of the British historian Richard Evans. One of the chief witnesses for the defense, Evans succeeded, more than anyone else, in exposing David Irving as a foul, mendacious apologist for and admirer of Adolf Hitler. And a prolific one to boot.Evans Over the course of several decades, Irving produced one volume of history after another honing what Evans has called his "denier's credo" -- that gas chambers either did not exist or were insignificant instruments in Hitler's policies; that the number of murdered Jews has been vastly exaggerated; and that in fact the Holocaust as such is nothing but a myth created by the war time Allies and by "Jewish Zionists."

In preparing his testimony, Evans -- no stranger to the literature on Nazi Germany -- found to his astonishment that in the enormous bibliography on this subject (37,000 items by 2000, one scholar calculated) there are virtually no histories for the general audience, and that the few volumes that have succeeded, however impressively, in combining an academic with a popular approach suffer from one flaw or another.

Thus Ian Kershaw's two-volume biography of Hitler focuses on those areas in which Hitler was personally involved, and neglects aspects with which Hitler was not directly concerned. Some excellent works are cast in an adademic jargon that make them hard to digest for the more average reader, while others, Evans writes, "indulge in the luxury of moral judgment. . . The story of how Germany, a stable and modern country, in less than a single lifetime led Europe into moral, physical and cultural ruin and despair is a story that has sobering lessons for us all; lessons, again, (which are) for the reader to take . . . not for the writer to give."

Abraham Brumberg has written extensively on Eastern European and Jewish affairs. He is now completing his autobiography, to be called Journeys Through Vanishing Worlds.


Irving Mr Irving replies:

London, Friday, May 14, 2004

Abraham Brumberg, reviewing Prof Richard Evans's latest book, says he exposed me "as a foul, mendacious apologist for and admirer of Adolf Hitler." We can judge Evans's objectivity, from the previous book he wrote, on the January-March 2000 Lipstadt Trial.

Describing me, he refers to my shoddy suit and badly scuffed shoes. In fact the pinstripe suit, purchased for the trial just a week before it began, had cost £2,700 (pounds, not dollars) at Gieves & Hawkes, while the black shoes (£410 from Church's) were even newer.

So much for Evans's powers of observation.

As for his views on me, let me quote -- without a trace of humility -- from Mr Justice Gray's Judgment in the Lipstadt trial: "As a military historian, Irving has much to commend him. For his works of military history Irving has undertaken thorough and painstaking research into the archives. He has discovered and disclosed to historians and others many documents which, but for his efforts, might have remained unnoticed for years. It was plain from the way in which he conducted his case and dealt with a sustained and penetrating cross-examination that his knowledge of World War 2 is unparalleled. His mastery of the detail of the historical documents is remarkable. He is beyond question able and intelligent. IrvingHe was invariably quick to spot the significance of documents which he had not previously seen. Moreover he writes his military history in a clear and vivid style. I accept the favourable assessment by Professor Watt and Sir John Keegan of the calibre of Irving's military history and reject as too sweeping the negative assessment of Evans."

So who is foul and mendacious now? It is hard to recognize Brumberg's Irving as being the same person.

David Irving

Our dossier on Richard "Skunky" Evans
A reader asks Mr Irving's opinion of historians Ian Kershaw, Richard Evans, Peter Padfield
See too the review by H-German, posted Feb 6, 1998, of Richard J. Evans, "Rituals of Retribution: Capital Punishment in Germany 1600-1987" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)
Sir Ian Kershaw reviews Prof Richard Evans' book Telling Lies about Hitler
Richard Evans was one of the expert witnesses chosen by Prof Deborah Lipstadt for her defence in David Irving's libel action
©Focal Point 2003 F e-mail: Irving write to David Irving