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1. "Rota, Giorgio" <Giorgio.Rota@oeaw.ac.at> 2. Frederick Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org> 3. Michael Yaklich <email@example.com> 4. "Megargee, Geoffrey" <GMegargee@ushmm.org> -----Message from: "Rota, Giorgio" <Giorgio.Rota@oeaw.ac.at>----- In my opinion, students should be kept as far away as possible from the works of David Irving, as well as from those of his likes, who exist in other fields of the historical studies. It is true that, as one of the contributors wrote, "being an anti-Semite does not make you a non-historian". However, having a precise agenda which goes against not only scholarly consensus but, above all, historical facts which are not open to doubt or discussion does. The risk of making Irving's production "attractive" to students is certainly there, but I think it can be defused by able teachers. Instead of penalizing students who quote him, teachers could explain beforehand why quotations from Irving's works are not acceptable and would not be accepted. This is not a matter of freedom of speech or a pure scholarly debate anymore, it is deliberate falsification of history together with apology of a crime which cost millions of human lives. Outright falsification and apology can be perhaps expected from politicians, demagogues or ideologues, but they are inacceptable from historians. As for his earlier, not so ideologically tainted scholarship, personally I say yes, let's throw away baby and bathwater together: drawing the line between "good" and "bad" work may be difficult, and after all the former paved the way for the latter (or, if you want, the latter is the natural development of the former). Irving's work may still be interesting from the point of view of the history of historiography, as another contributor stated, but it should be kept aloof from students as long as they have developed the necessary skills to deal with it without being unduly influenced by it. After all, some people work on the Ebola virus for a living, but they are not undergrad biology students. Best regards, Giorgio Rota Dott. Giorgio Rota "Rota, Giorgio" <Giorgio.Rota@oeaw.ac.at> -----Message from: Frederick Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- I had some unpleasant dealings with Mr Irving after I wrote my book on the bombing of Dresden. A very talented man, his personality and career sadly marred by all the flaws mentioned by other posters. He accused me of "lifting" large quantities of his Dresden book without acknowledgment (I had in fact been very careful not to do so -- usually returning to the original sources precisely in order to avoid this problem) and, after taking umbrage at some real or imagined slight I had perpetrated during a radio interview, abruptly withdrew permission for me to quote from his work at all. Luckily, this was before the paperback edition appeared, so we were able to make the changes in time and not have to pulp the run, as might have otherwise been the case (and was, I think was, indeed, what he had hoped for). The problem with Mr Irving is that a lot of his stuff is sound, and interesting, but crucial bits of it are -- in my opinion and of others -- unreliable (cf Richard Evans' analysis of the problems with his Dresden book, which I could add to). I think, by the way, that a lot of the citations mentioned by David Olivier are from works published some time ago, before some of Mr Irving's more rampant ... er ... eccentricities became clearly apparent. Anything smacking of censorship is bad, but how can one expect an undergraduate (or indeed anyone without intimate and deeply-based knowledge) to know which bits are OK and which not? Perhaps easier just to advise students to find other sources if at all possible, and hope common sense wins out. Again, such a pity that Mr Irving took the path he did. If you have a strong stomach, go to his website at www.fpp.co.uk/ and I think you will see the problem. Fred Taylor Frederick Taylor <email@example.com> -----Message from: Michael Yaklich <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- I think the question of Irving's anti-Semitism is in a sense a smokescreen obscuring the real question here. Simply put (and to me it seems a simple question), should one ever trust an author that has been proven guilty of deliberate falsification in writing works he advertised as history? (whatever his motives) Of course, in theory one should never trust any author, unless meticulously verifying his sources by going to the footnotes and reading the primary works cited to make sure his citations and interpretations are accurate. But how many in the field ever do that? (it would be akin to re-doing the original research for every book ones reads, a virtually impossible task). However, when one is exposed, including in a court of law, to have deliberately falsified the historical record, it would seem to be a bit of a warning that no citation of Irving can be considered valid without verification from other sources... Regards Mike Yaklich Michael Yaklich <email@example.com> -----Message from: "Megargee, Geoffrey" <GMegargee@ushmm.org>----- Just to add a quick modifier. My understanding (that is, without having personally examined all of Irving's writings in depth) is that: 1. He has gained access to, and given the historical world access to, documents and testimony that might never have seen the light of day otherwise; 2. He has encouraged many people's interest in history (including mine -- The Destruction of Dresden was among the first historical books I read); but: 3. At key points in his writings, and perhaps throughout them, he has either been sloppy or deliberately deceitful in his use of sources, and this applies to the books on Dresden and PQ-17, as well as to his more disturbing writings on Hitler and the Holocaust. So, even leaving aside his personal views, there are problems with him as a historian that go well beyond the bias and mistakes of which most of us are guilty from time to time. That's why I state that there is no point in citing him; anything he has written needs to be checked so carefully that one might as well just find another source, or do the primary research over again. For those who want the details, I highly recommend reading the records of his suit against Deborah Lipstadt, especially the study of his works that Richard Evans authored. It is available at: http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.com/en/trial/defense/evans Geoff Megargee "Megargee, Geoffrey" <GMegargee@ushmm.org> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----