Churchill's War, vol. ii

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The Times 1

July 14, 2001



Giles Coren

Write off

I HAVE always been sceptical about the selectivity of publicists who choose blurbs for book jackets and theatre hoardings. When a West End theatre puffs its performance of Whoops There Go My Bloomers! with the words "A wonderful evening", I am always convinced that the critic wrote: "I was having a wonderful evening until I sank to the neck in this quagmire of theatrical goose poo."

Well, that pompous ass David Irving has capped 'em all. He has a new book out now (called, I believe, How Hitler Invented Penicillin, Told Hilarious Jokes Against Himself And Saved The Jews From Stalin) and a press release sent to me includes the puff: 'His knowledge of World War Two is unparalleled'-- Mr Justice Gray, April 11, 2000."

Irving must believe that to cite his trial judge is terrifically witty and charmingly brazen. The daft old twit. In selectiveness, however, it is quite unsurpassed. In his summing up, Gray in fact went on to assess Irving's historical credentials as follows: "He treated the historical evidence in a manner which fell far short of the standard to be expected of a conscientious historian", and "misrepresented and distorted the evidence which was available to him".

Most succinctly of all, he observed that Irving "is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism".

I think Irving has missed a trick here. Surely the people who are likely to buy his books would be more impressed by that last quote than anything else.

Below: a charming photograph from David Irving's press release. It is captioned "Guess who's back in the bookstores?"


[click for the actual press release] [and another Coren sneer]

David Irving comments:


I HAVE no idea who -- or what -- The Times diarist Mr Coren is, or what I have done to upset him. His suppressed bile has shrivelled his vocabulary to an almost incoherent, monosyllabic stammer. Readers who are near newspaper libraries might like to compare the quality of his prose with that of The Times a hundred years ago.

But never fear! Such newsprint as his literary effort graced just a few days ago is already in turn, if is lucky, now wrapping evil-smelling, greasy bundles of fish-and-chips; or it has been recycled -- the paper going one way, to be melted down and pulped, the tired printing ink going another, being separated from the pulp by chemicals and flushed down into the gutter, where the pea-brained, poo-obsessed journalists like Mr Coren live and can replenish their pens afresh.

As for selective quotations: I turned to one of the most perverse critics of my works, and quoted one of the best passages from him. The journalists like Mr Coren quoted only the most vile. (The entire text of the 330 page judgment has been on my website for over a year). Who is being the more selective. . ?

[more of Judge Gray's comments]

© Focal Point 2001  e-mail:  write to David Irving