I can't bring myself to support him, in light of him selfishly smearing his peers. I encourage others to support the victims whom have unjustly suffered from his malice... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8641515.stm
I wasn't aware of this until I saw the above post and followed the link. Figes' actions are contemptible, particularly his attempt to put the blame on his wife. It will do his reputation no good at all.
I just received the notification of the release of Figes' latest work on the Crimean War. Sadly, I must agree. I won't be purchasing Figes' book. Why would an historian who had produced some excellent work engage in such conduct ?
When someone can explain to me why posting anonymous reviews of other people's books prevents someone writing a damn good book, I'll stop buying his books. But the truth is that the reviews (albeit that he shouldn't have denied writing them) were fair enough. Has anyone read Service's book? It's truly terrible! Whereas the Whisperers is a brilliant book. We don't read books because of what the writer is like as a person anyway, surely.... or do we? This all happened ages ago, anyway - anyone who cares about Russian history already knew and has got over it and moved on - like Figes, Service and Polonsky should have done. Judge the book, not the man. Otherwise half the canon of classic literature would be out for starters.
I agree, although Figes was quite wrong about Service's book and I would not call "The Whispers" "brilliant". We may agree or disagree about the quality of books by Figes and Service. My question remains, why would Figes behave like such a fool ?
I can't answer that - I doubt if anyone can. I'm not sure it really helps to speculate, either. For whatever reason, in whatever circumstances (about which we know nothing) it was done. The press had their fun. Polonsky and Service managed to get their stories out (and increased their own sales figures). Figes apologised for the upset he had caused. It's over.
I'm failing to see, nearly 6 months later, how or why people still think it impacts on the work the man produces. But perhaps actually it doesn't. Perhaps most of those who read all about this in April are fed up with it all by now. Ultimately it's his books which matter - love them (like me with the Whisperers) or not (like you with the Whisperers).
I'm sure (or I hope, at least) that people are, for the most part, intelligent enough to separate the two.
I thought Figes' "A Peoples Tragedy" was and remains the best book on the Russian Revolution. I came to the story late, hence my reaction. I will probably purchase Figes' new work on the Crimean War, but it just won't be a priority. If an historian chooses to act like a juvenile delinquent that is his affair so long as it does not affect his scholarship
I'm gutted. I would love to have bought Figes's new book about the Crimean War but the whole affair stinks. Three's a kind of Archer-ish, Aitken-ish sleaziness to it all that has left me feeling a bit grubby. If he writes his own reviews, he can buy all the sodding books,too. I certainly won't be buying this or anything else written by [Duplicitous] Historian. And what the hell are Birkbeck thinking?
No, not 'disingenuous' at all. I genuinely believe that to extrapolate from his behaviour in the Amazon review saga to an assertion that he has lost his credibility as a great historian is to extrapolate illogically, unsoundly; the evidence of one thing cannot usefully be applied to the other. If some people who might otherwise buy the book decide not to because of the Amazon issue, that is their choice, obviously - but they should be honest about that choice, and in my (ingenuous) view it would be either illogical or disingenuous to claim it was because they could no longer trust in its scholarship.
His behaviour surely deserves a saturday detention but it will not affect my decision to buy his books. I am looking forward to his paper back on Crimea. I enjoy reading his books, and i learn from them. I am a teacher of Russian and I advise my students to read his books. Natasha's Dance has already helped 12 students of mine to get an offer from Oxbridge!
Anyone can lie under intense pressure from the press - as Figes clearly was (see his interview in the Sunday Times where he gives his side of the story for the first time - and he clearly didn't "blame his wife" drifter 542). Any one of us might have made the same mistake. Why do we expect historians to act any better? It's nothing to do with his work - I agree with Quanglewangle. Judge his books and decide on that if he's a good historian.