Historians Craft Assignment 1 Essay

Submitted By edwards2779
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Historians Craft Assignment 1: Commentary on Two Book Reviews

Alan Bullock’s monumental piece of literature, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, has drawn widespread attention from many historical academics and individuals since its publication in 1952. The biography documents the life of tyrannous dictator Adolf Hitler and has been reviewed by the likes of Elizabeth Wiskemann and J.N. Moody, of which this comparative essay will focus its attention. The reviews are influenced by the life and opinions of the reviewer, which consequently has an impact on the usefulness and reliability of their individual reviews.
The first review to be discussed in this essay will be that of Elizabeth Wiskemann, published in History Today in 1952. Wiskemann describes Bullocks’s work as a, “masterly piece of lucid exposition a synthesis of the evidence so far available and of those interpretations of evidence which further evidence has justified”. This statement suggests that she holds the opinion that Bullock successfully captures the ruthless nature of Hitler’s character and his deplorable regime. However, Wiskerann also comments quite frequently on some of the negative aspects of the biographical work. She specifically alludes to Bullock’s failure to sufficiently convey the horrors inflicted by the Nazi party and its leader during the 1930s and 1940s, highlighting that he does not make enough of the Nazi reign of terror. She points out that the author’s account is “almost too neat, too sane”. Wiskermann’s own background, however, has clearly had an effect on her opinion of Bullock’s work. She frequently provides details her own personal experiences of her time spent in Germany during the 1930s. This helps to reinforce the reliability of her commentary on the book as she has first hand knowledge of the period Bullock is documenting.
The next book review to be discussed is one published in America Magazine, by J.N. Moody in 1953. It is clear from the start of the review that Moody has mostly positive things to say about the biography. He asserts that with Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Bullock has provided the “best account to date of this strange personality” although he does highlight that most details of Hitler’s life will remain somewhat of a mystery. Moody also frequently praises Bullocks use of all the available sources and seems to have adopted the viewpoints and opinions of the author stating that Hitler…