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The Vices of Integrity: E.H. Carr 1892-1982 Paperback – November 17, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“... fine, thorough, well-balanced.”—Sunday Telegraph

“1999 Outstanding Academic Book of the Year.”—Choice

“A penetrating, lucid, intellectual biography.”—George Steiner

“A remarkable biography of a fascinating figure and in this case not ‘too soon’.”—The Guardian

“Excellent results for our understanding of this unusually complicated and highly individualistic historian, but also for our understanding of his times.”—the National Interest

“Haslam charts with thoroughness every twist and turn in Carr’s long odyssey, which was marked with ferocious independence of thought.”—History Today

“This book will probably remain Carr’s definitive biography.”—Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Jonathan Haslam is the author of The Soviet Union and the Threat from the East, 1933-41. He is a Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and the University Assistant Director of Studies in International Relations (Russia and Eastern Europe).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859842895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859842898
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,687,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By jonathan g. haslam on February 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am the author. You have listed my name as a reviewer! Please remove it as a reviewer. It looks ridiculous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Herzen on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
First things first: this is a marvelous biography, written by an acolyte, to be sure, but not uncritically. I cannot imagine that this work will ever be surpassed - the author uses masses of unpublished materials, and understands the published clearly better than almost anyone.

Dealing with the subject, an often prickly perfectionist with a prodigious capacity and ethic for work, moreover a man of repressed emotions leaving an impression of coldness (however false it may have been), must have been difficult. In addition, given Carr's erudition, his mastery of written Russian, German, and French, as well as his deep training in the classics, presents obstacles that only a very few could overcome. Haslam has handled them with quite amazing aplomb.

Finally, taking his lesson from his subject, the style is eminently readable, if not quite with the polish, and definitely not with the distant and bemused disdain, that Carr so often delivered, at least in his biographies, to his subjects' foibles.

In short, I am filled with admiration.

That said, there are at least two major issues that one can, and must, take with this book. First, it surely is clear by now, and should have even clear by the publication date of this work in 1999, that Carr was fundamentally wrong about his most cherished belief in history, namely that it must be concerned only with what is (and not what could have been) and moreover cannot be judgmental about it. The amazing collapse of the Soviet Union demonstrated for all to see just what a house of cards it had been, and just how illegitimate its existence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tigran Mkrtchyan on October 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Very few biographies do exist about Ed. Carr. This biography by Haslam is definitely the best. Haslam himself being a student of Carr could not have made a better tribute to his and many other 'realists' teacher.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Cooper on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
E.H.Carr burst into the consciousness of every schoolboy in England studying History at 'A' level in 1961, when he published a series of lectures entitled 'What is History?' It was virtually a set book. No-one could contemplate an interview at a University without having read it, and possibly memorised it.

We found out later that he was not the only person to have written about the philosophy of history, and about historiography; and personally, I found that his much-praised 'Bolshevik Revolution' was (a) difficult to read and (b) overrated.

This book shows how far we were misled. The colossus was a man of straw: one of those brilliant scholars whose main aim in life was to be controversial, rather than illuminate. In the 1930s, he was an appeaser. In the 1950s he was effectively a propagandist for Communism. Nobody exposed him at the time; but nothing he wrote has lasting value. The author of this biography plays this down, as the title shows; but in my view he demonstrates the Vices without proving his case about the Integrity.

But it's a splendid read for anyone who ever read 'What is History?' and failed to understand what Carr was really driving at - that the Soviet Union was bound to win the Cold War. Carr died before the collapse of the USSR, which was just as well for him.

Stephen Cooper
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