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Monday, 15 November 2010

Oh dear... (or Historian on the Edge: NOT a Nazi)

(with apologies to Father Ted)

I have just been informed that the whole text of Warfare and Society in the Barbarian West is available on a Nazi website (I won't give the address as I don't want to give them publicity).  Not only is this quite illegal (and I will be attempting to get Routledge to carry out some sort of legal action) but I wanted to make it clear to anyone who can't figure this out from other posts and comments on this Blog, that this was most certainly not done with my permission.

This is an odd one, to be sure.  Anyone with a brain who read that book (OK, OK I know that brains and literacy rules out most neo-Nazis) ought to realise that it is written from a fairly left-wing perspective.  Then again, ought I let them read it for some subtle brain-washing?  Too subtle, I fear.  More to the point, it is (pace Bachrach's characteristically brain-dead, near-libellous review in the American Historical Review) hardly the sort of thing they'd want to read, as it is pretty explicitly anti-Germanist (and very anti-heroic).  No triumphant Nordic/Germanic warriors sweeping aside the decadent Mediterranean civilisation here.  Though I'm sure their authors would be as disgusted as me to find themselves in this company, if these people want the Germanist 'warrior culture' view, then Michael Speidel's bizarre Ancient Germanic Warriors would be of more interest, and if it was simply right-wing militarist lunacy they were after, then Bachrach's own Early Carolingian Warfare would serve them amply.  That or the (slightly more historically plausible) Conan the Barbarian novels...

It's a funny old world.  Bachrach calls me a Marxist (I'm not but I don't think his understanding of the issue is very secure); a hard-of-thinking Amazon reviewer says my barbarians book is liberal, PC history, and the Nazis are pushing my work to their followers.  Truly, Roland Barthes was right: the author is dead....