Richard J. Evans


Born
in Woodford, The United Kingdom
September 29, 1947

Website

Genre

Influences
E.H. Carr, Fritz Fischer


He was born in London, of Welsh parentage, and is now Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Gonville & Caius College. Evans has also taught at the University of Stirling, University of East Anglia and Birkbeck College, London. Having been a Visiting Professor in History at Gresham College during 2008/09, he is now the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric.

He was educated at Forest School (Walthamstow), Jesus College, Oxford, and St Antony's College, Oxford. In a 2004 interview, Evans has stated that during frequent visits to Wales during his childhood inspired both an interest in history and a sense of "otherness".
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“Recounting the experience of individuals brings home, as nothing else can, the sheer complexity of the choices they had to make, and the difficult and often opaque nature of the situations they confronted. Contemporaries could not see things as clearly as we can, with the gift of hindsight: they could not know in 1930 what was to come in 1933, they could not know in 1933 what was to come in 1939 or 1942 or 1945. If they had known, doubtless the choices they made would have been different. One of the greatest problems in writing history is to imagine oneself back in the world of the past, with all the doubts and uncertianties people faced in dealing with a future that for the historian has also become the past. Developments that seem inevitable in retrospect were by no means so at the time, and in writing this book I have tried to remind the reader repeatedly that things could easily have turned out very differently to the way they did at a number of points in the history of Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. People make their own history, as Karl Marx once memorably observed, but not under conditions of their own choosing. These conditions included not only the historical context in which they lived, but also the way in which they thought, the assumptions they acted upon, and the principles and beliefs that informed their behavior. A central aim of this book is to re-create all these things for a modern readership, and to remind readers that, to quote another well-known aphorism about history, 'the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich

“Narrative history fell out of fashion for many years in the 1970s and 1980s, as historians everywhere focused on analytical approaches derived mainly from the social sciences. But a variety of recent, large-scale narrative histories have shown that it can be done without sacrificing analytical rigour or explanatory power.”
Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich

“If the experience of the Third Reich teaches us anything, it is that a love of great music, great art and great literature does not provide people with any kind of moral or political immunization against violence, atrocity, or subservience to dictatorship.”
Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich

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