A. J. P. Taylor could never be dull, least of all in the essay. The medium was perfect for his qualities. In expression he displayed elegant brevity: in argument paradox: in knowledge lightly-worn mastery. The result was an aphoristic concinnity only perhaps bettered among historians by Macaulay.
Faber are reissuing three volumes of essays expertly assembled and introduced by Chris Wrigley. This first one presents a dazzlingly varied conspectus of A. J. P. Taylor's shorter writings on the nineteenth-century.
'Compulsively quotable and often very funny . . . The range, volume and brio of his historical writing are astounding'. Roy Foster, Independent on Sunday
A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) was the most famous and controversial historian of the twentieth century. Author of over thirty books, the three peaks of his scholarship are the massive and authoritative The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848-1918, the idiosyncratic English History: 1914-1945 and the revisionist Origins of the Second World War. But there was much else. The Trouble Makers: Dissent Over Foreign Policy (1792-1939) was his own personal favourite. The essay often saw A. J. P. Taylor at his best, it was a medium well-suited to his pithy, provocative, epigrammatic style. After his death the best of his essays were selected and reassembled by Chris Wrigley into three volumes: From Napoleon to the Second International, From the Boer War to the Cold War and British Prime Ministers.