David Irving portrait

David Irving

[Photo by David Gamble for The Independent on Sunday]


About the Author,

biographical note, August 3, 1991


THIS BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE is reproduced here with hyperlinks and illustrations added by this Website. See too Notes for Counsel, 1970, Torpedo Running, 1985, and a New Zealander's Independent (Jewish) assessment (1998); and David Irving answers some impertinent questions in 1996.

About the Author:


DAVID IRVING was born in Essex, England, in 1938, the son of a Royal Navy commander and naval historian who fought in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and the Arctic Convoy Battles in World War Two.

Steelworker's IDIrving had a wide and varied education, in the arts at a public school, then switching to the sciences with an I.C.I. scholarship at London University (Imperial College). After working in Germany's Ruhr Valley as a steel worker [ID card, right] and in Spain as a stenographer for U.S. Strategic Air Command to perfect his knowledge of the two languages, he studied economics and political science at University College and the London School of Economics, London, until his first book, "The Destruction of Dresden", was published in April 1963. Written at age twenty-three, this book became an international best-seller, enabling him to become totally independent of academic institutions or editorial offices from that moment on.

Since then, he has composed nearly thirty works of history, earning him the respect, gratitude, and sometimes unconcealed envy of other historians.

Irving has received special recognition for his work with original source material, the diaries, letters, documents and archives of the era. He has generously donated all his files to public archives where other historians make use of them, sometimes even before his own manuscripts are complete.

He has not dwelt solely on the military events of World War Two. His narrative of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 attracted praise and two medals from the exiled community in Britain and from leading Hungarians still in the country. His investigation of the German atomic research programme in World War Two, the first such history, attracted praise in the media from legendary Nobel-Prize winning professors Otto Hahn and Werner Heisenberg and from the head of the U.S. "Manhattan Project", Lt. Gen. Leslie R. Groves.

Irving is a lively and much sought-after public speaker, and has debated before the Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham university unions. A fluent linguist, he broadcasts and participates in the television programmes of Germany, Austria, France and Spain, as well as the United States and Britain. Major U.K. television programmes have been devoted to his work, including "Newsnight", "Tonight", "Panorama", "After Dark", and no fewer than four David Frost programmes. In the United States he has been interviewed for both "Good Morning America" and the N.B.C. "Today" show.

Exposing fake diariesIrving belongs to no political party, and is a man of independent -- critics say even radical -- views. He describes himself as a dissident historian, rather than revisionist. Legends about him proliferate: that he is a vegetarian, that his brother was killed in the war, that he is fabulously rich, that he is on the verge of bankruptcy. But his achievements are solid and well known. It was Irving who publicly exposed the "Hitler Diaries" as a fraud at the Stern press conference in Hamburg in April 1983 [picture, right].

Many of his claims are contentious, but turn out to be right: experts pooh-poohed his statement that a B.B.C. Children's Hour actor had stood in for Mr. Churchill in some of his famous 1940 speeches and broadcasts -- until American electronic speech analysis of the recordings proved him right.

David Irving has lived for nearly thirty years in what Time Out recently described as an "elegant, anonymous" apartment in Duke Street, London's Mayfair, and is the father of four beautiful grown-up daughters.

(3.8. 1991)

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