Adam Sisman

A Historian’s Heart

The Wartime Journals

By

I B Tauris 322pp £25 order from our bookshop

Does language matter? Hugh Trevor-Roper thought that it did. Nowadays it is fashionable to rate self-expression above precision. But Trevor-Roper believed that without clarity of language there can be no clarity of thought. Like Orwell (whom he admired), he knew that freedom is endangered when language becomes corrupt. These journals were written during the Second World War, when the defence of the English language against all forms of attack seemed especially important. They remained unseen until after his death in 2003, when they were discovered hidden in his house. Their publication now reveals a new side to the formidable historian. The notebook entries exhibit an intellectual in the process of formation: an isolated, reflective individual training his mind and refining his style.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,