Hugh Trevor-Roper

We’ve all been reading – and enjoying – the letters of Hugh Trevor-Roper, which I bought when they came out, but haven’t had time to read hitherto.   I was brought up to regard Trevor-Roper as lazy, never producing any historical work of deep significance after his early biography of Archbishop Laud and his book on The Last Days of Hitler which he wrote on instructions as an operative for MI5 (although I remember admiring The Rise of Christian Europe which I read as an undergraduate).   Yet ever since his death in 2003, works have been pouring out from his estate, including the two volumes of letters so far published and the possibility of up to ten more.   They reveal him as magnificently well connected, worldly and waspish. 

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One thought on “Hugh Trevor-Roper

  1. Without abject flattery I must say this is a very fine 21st century achievement – one that conveys unexpected pleasure to the reader in its sharing of Charles’s vivid life. It also enlarges acquaintance with unfamiliar destinations, which many less fortunate than he can only dream of visiting. The layout and large print are also well conceived and the photography arresting. Realising as I do that the sensitivity of Charles’s position precludes blogging controversy, I am glad to say that I found his slurs on Hugh Trevor-Roper absolutely outrageous. To damn him with faint praise bar Laud, Hitler and his letters is to ignore his pioneering researches on the rise of the gentry and the Civil War, on the general crisis of the 17th century, on the witch-craze of that age and on Cromwell, the Puritans and their revolutions. The book on Edmund Backhouse is a fine minority cause and the essays on the union with Scotland – it was James I who invented the term “Great Britain” – essential reading in this year of Scottish nationalism. But then poor HRT-R was never truly welcomed by Cambridge men!

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