An Honourable Englishman by Adam Sisman
The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper

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Synopsis

He was one of the most gifted scholars of his generation—a brilliant writer, high-society star, and cultural force who moved easily between aristocratic houses and the humble haunts of literary bohemia. He developed a lucid prose style that he used to scathing effect, earning notoriety for his sharp attacks on other historians. Now this superb biography of Hugh Trevor-Roper, universally acclaimed overseas, makes its anticipated American debut.

With incisive knowledge of the man and access to never-before-published letters, Adam Sisman paints a fascinating portrait of this charismatic, contentious, contradictory character. Sisman examines Trevor-Roper’s middle-class upbringing in a house so empty of affection that it caused, as he put it, his “almost physical difficulty in expressing emotion.” He traces Trevor-Roper’s career from his early academic triumphs to his later failure to produce the big book expected of him.

Sisman also provides riveting new details of the high drama of Trevor-Roper’s World War II intelligence work—in which he boldly blew the whistle on bureaucratic infighting that imperiled British code-breaking—and the exclusive investigation of Hitler’s death that inspired his bestselling postwar triumph, The Last Days of Hitler. As never before, Trevor-Roper’s personal life is explored, including his passionate affair with an older, married woman. Finally, An Honourable Englishman reveals the truth behind his public substantiation of the false Hitler diaries in 1983, a misstep (encouraged by his impatient employer Rupert Murdoch) that forever tainted his reputation.

Profoundly bright and brutally acerbic, Hugh Trevor-Roper was a literary lion like no other, and in An Honourable Englishman he receives the absorbing biography he deserves.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Adam Sisman

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Adam Sisman is the author of A. J. P. Taylor: A Biography. He lives with his wife, the novelist Robyn Sisman, and their two children.
 
Published December 6, 2011 by Random House. 672 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for An Honourable Englishman

Kirkus Reviews

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Though readers familiar with World War II intrigue and British radio intelligence will especially appreciate the chapters spanning the period, Sisman suggests that Trevor-Roper should also be remembered for his literary contributions and for the dignity he maintained despite heavy criticism.

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

The New York Times

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Adam Sisman’s new biography of the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, “An Honourable Englishman,” is a rescue mission of sorts: it will not persuade you to admire him, exactly, but you will warm to his bumptious company.

Dec 06 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

Publishers Weekly

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An influential historian of 17th-century Britain, Trevor-Roper was also known for his unsurpassed study of Hitler’s last days and notorious for “authenticating” Hitler’s diaries, which turned out to be forgeries.

Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

The Wall Street Journal

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The German magazine Stern claimed to have obtained Hitler's diaries and was offering them for syndication to the Times and Sunday Times, who hired Trevor-Roper to examine the papers for a "five-figure fee," Mr. Sisman says.

Dec 10 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

The Washington Times

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Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914-2003) was one of the most famous and admired British historians of his time, holder of Oxford University's prestigious Regius Professorship. He was also widely known for his best-selling "Last Days of Hitler," based on fresh research gathered soon after the fuhrer's suicid...

Feb 20 2012 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

The Washington Post

Just to read Trevor-Roper on Robert Burton and “The Anatomy of Melancholy” or on the historian Clarendon or on “The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century” or on the philosopher David Hume is to feel that one is, in a small way, a citizen in the Republic of Letters.

Dec 08 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Wide-ranging historian, brilliant literary stylist, and academic pugilist, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre of Glanton, also wore red socks, rode to hounds, and was a two-bottle man.

Dec 09 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

Bookmarks Magazine

Sisman examines Trevor-Roper’s middle-class upbringing in a house so empty of affection that it caused, as he put it, his “almost physical difficulty in expressing emotion.” He traces Trevor-Roper’s career from his early academic triumphs to his later failure to produce the big book expected of h...

Dec 11 2011 | Read Full Review of An Honourable Englishman: The...

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