Posted Monday, November 20, 2000

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Monday, November 20, 2000 (Key West, Florida)

MANY years ago, when the campaign against me by Bernard Levin, that otherwise wonderful columnist in The Times, was at its height, I wrote a letter saying that I had been about to reply, then recalled Lord Mountbatten's advice, "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk"; but then I withdrew that remark too, because I did not want to be accused of anti-skunkism.

skunkThat brings me inevitably to Professor Richard Evans, the "expert witness" in the Lipstadt trial whose knowledge of German was so deficient that he thought that "dran glauben müssen," the slang phrase for getting "bumped off," actually meant "having to believe in something."

Evans, of course, is prepared to believe in anything, provided the fee is fat enough. As the readers of my Trial Diary will know, he was the scowl-faced, ill-mannered Cambridge upstart historian who from his privileged position in the witness box squirted his malodorous slime over every leading historian in the world who had publicly praised my works over the last thirty years (including Hugh Trevor Roper, A J P Taylor, Gordon Craig, Hans Mommsen, Donald Watt, and an academy-full of other names) calling them all, tout court, "incompetent."

John Charmley, professor of modern history at East Anglia University, has described the wild scenes of enthusiasm that greeted Evans's departure to Cambridge. He was never a popular professor, and even less so now that it has emerged how much money he accepted while doing the dirty on his fellow-historians. Somebody asked me a few weeks ago what was the difference between Evans and a certain mollusc. The answer was of course none, they are both bottom-crawling scumsuckers.

SpielbergNow a friend e-mails to me the wonderful news that booksellers Barnes and Noble are listing at their website ( a book from one Richard Evans, due out next February. I shall keep an eye out in the trade journals for more about the book: It has the eye-catching title Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial, and a mouth-watering price of $27.00, which is rather less than the $250,000 that the good professor was paid by Steven Spielberg to give his "neutral" expert evidence in the Lipstadt Trial. Looks like Prof. Evans is raring for another fight: one thing Judge Gray did not accuse me of in his Judgment, perverse as it was, is lying.

One thing the book won't do, even if it were to be worked over by Truman Capote himself: I predict it won't make The New York Times best-sellers list. Evans's books are characterised by acres of sludge. His expert report in the Lipstadt Trial quoted yards of text from other, far better, writers' works. Outside the courthouse this would be called plagiarism. In a South California university it would be enough to get any professor denied her tenure. I am sure Evans's publishers will not allow him to quote from my copyright works without permission either (because he's not getting that permission, now or ever); and in the U.K. jurisdiction, his book will be subject to just the same libel laws as is Lipstadt's. I doubt he will be able to plead fair comment.

My legal friends urged me, only a few weeks ago, to issue a Writ against him because of remarks that he made in The Times which flatly contradicted the praise expressed by Gray in his Judgment for my credentials as a military historian. I decided at the time to keep my powder dry.

For one thing, I am not sure who Evans really is: one person e-mailed me a link to a Professor Richard Evans's website, which has a photo; and it turned out that he is not a Welsh professor of history at all but a Negro piano player in a New Orleans jazz bar. Now that is real had-earned fame. Has he written the book?

Another drew my attention to the really helpful website entitled, run by the esteemed Jewish community to enable them to identify each other despite their often "non-Jewish" names. This friend -- I hasten to add, it was not I -- found his fingers idly typing in the names "Richard" and "Evans", and: what a surprise!

Four weeks ago we sent an email asking this otherwise anonymous Richard Evans (anonymous, because he has "masked" that particular site) if he was the famous and celebrated professor of history. He is prima facie not the piano player. We received a velvety black silence in reply.

Perhaps others will fare better and let this website know the truth about Prof. Evans. But according to our sources, Lipstadt's legal team boasted that they went out of their way to hire only Gentiles as their "neutrals," in order to preserve appearances.


Of course, names are no guideline. David Irving: perfectly reasonable Gentile name. World famous military historian. But Irving David? Could be a Hollywood scriptwriter, a junk-bond billionaire, a famous rabbi.

EvansTake the case of British writer David Pryce-Jones: sounds like another Welshman, through and through. Nope. Take Robert Maxwell for that matter. Or take Leo Amery who, we now know, changed his middle name from Moritz to Maurice in order that his fellow British Cabinet members should not realise his family origins. Those were truly pernicious years.


My recommendation? Read the book on the Lipstadt Trial already published in German by Eva Menasse. The spleen is easily discarded. Better still, wait for the book by Don Guttenplan. It won't be friendly, but he knows how to write. He is a Jew, but I gave him complete exclusive access to all my records. Nobody else has bribed him, so far as I know.


Some related files in this website

 Richard Evans index
 A learned reviewer suggests that Professor Richard Evans's book on Historiography is unscholarly, ignorant, and sloppy | Richard Evans' response to some of his critics
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