A good reporter (‘God’s noblest work’, said Rudyard Kipling) can make a good narrative historian, someone more reader-friendly than your frigid academic. Foreign correspondents such as Peter Fleming, Alan Moorehead, William Shirer and Chester Wilmot all went on to write interesting, popular and valuable histories drawn from the Second World War they had known first-hand.
Patrick Bishop is from a later generation who did not experience the war but cannot resist its scale and drama. A war correspondent himself for over twenty years, he has a reliable bullshit-detector and writes clearly and modestly, serving the material rather than his own ego. He can do high