As a result of comments on the blog made by a proper historian, there will be a slight change in format to this blog. In its current format the blog doesn’t really comply with conventional notions of an academic bibliography. There is a very good reason for this, I have a serious problem with conventional academia being inaccessible to all and regardless of whether I or Robin Mundill completed this project, it was always going to target as large an audience as possible. That is not to say that I couldn’t do that style of bibliography, I just don’t think many people beyond (or arguably within) the Academy would want to read it and that would be counter-productive to the blog. Having said that, I’m flexible in terms of format, particularly in this early stage of the blog and as such future blog entries will start with an academic style description of the piece of literature followed by the entries for general readers which I’ve been producing thus far. I must stress that there is no moratorium on academic readers reading the general entry or vice versa (in fact I’d encourage both), merely that the difference is there if you want it. I shall start a general academic bibliography document which includes those comments and try and maintain that as a working document (if my technological ability permits that).
I also just want to emphasise that I make absolutely no apologies for engaging with literature and expressing my own opinion on those (whether that be positive or negative). I adopt the approach that the only thing that I wouldn’t be willing to put on this blog is things that I wouldn’t be willing to say to the scholars face. However, I wish to emphasise that anybody can respond to comments on this blog, and that I don’t have a monopoly on opinions – though I like to think that I’ve spent enough time working on this material not to change my opinion every third document (although as a historian I reserve the right to do so).The simple fact is that I’m a man with all the tact and diplomacy of a sledge hammer and I really don’t have the time or the patience for the academic backstabbing which is predominant in some quarters, and as such I would much rather say what I think rather than avoiding difficult issues (as somebody who works on Jewish history a lot the perils of dancing around issues are much clearer than perhaps might otherwise be the case). This is the approach that I take to primary source material and I see no reason to change that for modern literature – and some of my best academic friends are also people who I’ve never agreed with on anything (it makes for wonderful debates over a pint!).