A J P Taylor
- Category : Education-Librarian
- Type : ME
- Profile : 6/3 - Role Model / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (40)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Healing 1
British TV personality, journalist and one of the most influential British historians of the 20th century.
Noted as a formidable scholar, he has also written some 26 books, including "Origins of the Second World War" and an autobiography "A Personal History ," 1983.
Born of Quaker ancestry, Alan John Percivale Taylor was the only son of Percy Lees and Constance Sumner Taylor. (Their first child, a girl named Miriam, died before Alan was born.) From 1919-1924 he attended Bootham School in York. He also attended Oriel College, Oxford. After graduation in 1927, he studied in Vienna on a Rockefeller Fellowship. Taylor began his career as a history lecturer at Manchester University (1930-1938). In 1938 he returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor in modern history at Magdalen College. He remained at Magdalen College until 1963. From 1953 to 1963 he was also a lecturer in international history to the entire university. He is known as a superb teacher, "stimulating often inspiring, sometimes infuriating," for whom "the paradox is his favorite method." The same qualities have made him a highly successful journalist, and one of the most effective and popular lecturers on British television.
In his first book, "The Italian Problem in European Diplomacy," 1847-1849 (1934), Taylor argued that the history of Europe could be seen as a series of conflicts between assumptions made by statesmen over the years. "The Origins of the Second World War" created quite a stir with its apparent complete reversal of his previous "Germanophobic" opinions. He argued that: "The war of 1939, far from being premeditated, was a mistake, the result on both sides of diplomatic blunders."
The most notable of his subsequent books, "English History", 1914-1945, covered the two world wars, the Great Depression, politics, strategy and social welfare. It is widely held to be the best one-volume work on the subject. Taylor has been called "the pyrotechnician of history" because of his provocative insights, ability to write highly readable narratives and his scintillating prose style.
He "escaped with relief" from teaching in 1963 to become honorary director of the Beaverbrook Library in London and a research fellow of Magdalen College. Taylor is or has been a contributor to a wide variety of newspapers. His television appearances have made him a familiar face to millions in England. "The tousled face; the quizzical smile; the light voice with the broad Lancashire vowels; the intense nervous vitality and emotional warmth; the sudden rat-trap snap of the mouth, the air of mischievous gaiety like a small boy playing truant from school."
He made three marriages by 1976; six children.
Taylor died of Parkinson's Disease 9/07/1990, London.