Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to one old historian called Anthony Beevor and "Goodbye" to another called Kevin Sharp

Anthony Beevor historian of Twentieth Century warfare is 65 today and Kevin Sharp specialist on the politics of Seventeenth Century Stuart England died on November 5th, at the age of 62, on anniversary of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

What you possibly didn't know about Anthony, that he :

* was educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst Military College, is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany.

* between leaving the Army and starting writing, was an account executive with the advertising and a marketing firm , working on campaigns for the food products firm Rank Hovis McDougall.

* his best known works, 'Stalingrad' and 'Berlin - The Downfall 1945', recount the World War Two battles between the Soviet Union and Germany have been praised for their vivid, compelling style, their treatment of the ordinary lives of combatants and civilians and the use of newly disclosed documents from Soviet archives.

* has written thirteen books, novels and non-fiction.

Anthony talking about war movies like The Longest Day' and 'Saving Private Ryan' :

and the importance of having libraries :

I met Kevin 40 years ago and stayed for a weekend in the house where he lived, while studying for his second degree at Oxford. I was with my friend, the late Peter Knight. The two of them had studied at the Sir Joseph Williamson School in Rochester and 'history' together at Oxford where they were both brilliant and formidably challenging students.

What you possibly didn't know about Kevin, that he :

* planned to read law at university but was persuaded to change to history by an inspiring teacher, Keith Baker and studied as an undergraduate and postgraduate at St Catherine's College, Oxford, where he was supervised by the renown historian, Hugh Trevor-Roper.

* during his career taught at the Universities of Southampton. Warwick and Queen Mary College but it is his books that Kevin will be remembered.

* was said by The 'Guardian' to have 'transformed our understanding of the 17th century, in particular the character and culture of the reign of Charles I, and the relationship between the politics of his court and the onset of the Civil War.'

Bye, bye Kevin. Britain understands its formative history of the Seventeenth Century the better for you having been here, done your research and written your many books.

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