It was only after five years in the army, when I was having to do a very boring job in a very boring place, that I thought: ‘Why not try writing a novel?’ partly out of youthful arrogance and partly because there had been a long line of writers in my mother’s family.
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I feel slightly uneasy at the way historians are consulted as if history is going to repeat itself. It never does.
The duty of a historian is simply to understand and then convey that understanding, no more than that.