Leicester's Literary Festival was launched yesterday evening with a discussion of post war Britain with two of the best historians in the business - Dominic Sandbrook and David Kynaston. Over an hour's discussion, to a big audience, they ranged far and wide on the meaning and significance of recent British history. Apart from simply enjoying their wit and originality (not always apparent in the journals or even on the tele) I couldn't help reflecting on how History is a truly marvellous subject. For it allows us to speak, like they did, on difficult and complex issues ways that are both simple, but strong and subtle as well: what Sandbrook and Kynaston had to say was completely open to anyone who cared to listen, but without losing one jot of seriousness.
The discussion was skilfully chaired by Tom Holland, a historian of the Ancient World. Without a word of condescension, and almost without us (or them) noticing it, he steered the debate over a wide and varied terrain.
Well done Tom! Well done David and Dominic! Well done Leicester's Literary Festival!
It's hot to be a Historian.