Posts Tagged ‘The End’

WW2 Reviews

|   2 September 2011

Ian Kershaw and ‘The End’

A quite astonishing book

Many years ago, when I was on a BBC film directors course, the instructor came in to the cutting room to view the short historical documentary I had just made. He watched it once and then listed at least half a dozen things that were wrong with it – quite something given that the film was only five minutes long. I was depressed, my head hung low, when he patted me on the back and said, ‘Don’t worry, Laurence, just remember this – criticism is easy, creation is hard.’

I thought of those words reading Ian Kershaw’s latest book ‘The End’, about the last year or so of Hitler’s Germany. Because I believe that you can divide historians and the books they write into two sorts – there are those that are essentially critics and those that are essentially creators. And, perhaps needless to say, there are many more critics out there than creators. It is much easier to criticize other works of history, or to explain why a particular historical or philosophical theory has flaws, than to create a new way of understanding the past. (more…)