Latest Issue

I never used to be one for original sources. I don’t mean that I would cobble together my history writing from secondary texts and other people’s ideas. But the actual texture of the past left me cold. Some researchers get positively feverish at the sight of dusty letters or a crumpled diary from the storeroom of a provincial archive. My own feelings were the exact opposite. All that dust made me sneeze.

I couldn’t tell anyone about this aversion to the raw material of my trade. Historians and biographers are supposed to dig deep in their search for authenticity: the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect