Talk:Martin Gilbert

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Reverted the critial comments added by last author to the book-list; I don't have any strong views one way or the other about Gilbert's writing but I think if that sort of thing is to be added it ought to be somewhere other than in an otherwise nondescript list of published works. It's a fairly major work, so one could quite possible make a section for it (and Eugene Rasor's review) to include the same viewpoints. If possible, a consensus view by Churchill historians would be best imo. At any rate, no offence in the revert, I hope.

-- 21:38, 5 August 2006 (UTC)


Sir Martin Gilbert is one of the most influential and acclaimed modern historians, much more famous than the barely notable Joel Beinin. Adding this marginal criticism in the absence of other views on his works is a violation of WP:NPOV. Beit Or 08:13, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Joel Beinin is notable enough to criticize him. And these are all your definitions. --Aminz 09:22, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
No, these are facts. Please stop POVing the article. Beit Or 10:23, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I am NPOVing the article by adding a criticism from a reliable source. Gilbert is not infallible. --Aminz 10:25, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
You've POVed this article necause you have presented only one and pretty marginal POV without presenting others. Adding a POV tag after making POV edits won't help. Beit Or 13:46, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
The POV tag is there for that. Please don't remove well-sourced material. --Aminz 23:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Beit Or is right. This is undue weight. Arrow740 03:53, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
If the criticism is well-sourced and relevant, it belings in the article. V-Man737 05:16, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
It is sourced to Joel Beinin, professor of Middle East History at Stanford University and the Director of the Middle East Studies Department at the American University in Cairo.--Aminz 05:19, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
It provides undue weight to a fringe view. Arrow740 05:20, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
How do you know it is a fringe view? --Aminz 05:22, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
That guy adopts a nasty, unscholarly tone. If he is the only one espousing his invective then it is a fringe view. Arrow740 05:33, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
A propaganda tract is criticizable. It is not unscholarly since it is peer-reviewed and published by "University of California Press". --Aminz 05:35, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
It is the tone that is unscholarly. It reflects poorly on the author. He provides no specifics regarding Bat Ye'or, as far as I can tell. It may well be the same with Gilbert. Arrow740 05:37, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia can not censor criticisms. The critic is an scholar and has published his book in a notable academic press. That would be an adequate criticism. --Aminz 05:38, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

unindent) Is this Joel Beinin fellow a reliable source, or is his work biased in any way? Keep in mind that one can criticize without being biased; there is a difference between noting disagreements and throwing insults. Also, is Beinin the only critic? V-Man737 05:40, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

No, of course not. He is professor of Middle East History at Stanford University and the Director of the Middle East Studies Department at the American University in Cairo. His book is published through a reputable press: "University of California Press" --Aminz 05:41, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
It is relevant to add that Joel Beinin is well-known for his strongly leftist, anti-"capitalist" as well as anti-Zionist and therefore anti-Israeli views, and he has expressed them in polemical fashion in various fora. His academic position in an Egyptian university, mentioned above as an indicator of his academic respectability, indicates the acceptability of his political views regarding Israel in anti-Zionist countries, even if Egypt has a cold peace with israel: no Israeli academics and no pro-Zionist Jewish academics would be offered such a position or have them in Egyptian universities. His account of Israeli history in his courses has evoked sharp criticism for its constant anti-Zionist bias, e.g., by Daniel Jacobs, "Joel Beinin Doesn't Deserve Tenure," The Stanford Review XXXV, no. 2 (Oct. 7, 2005). As regards his doctrinaire Marxism, see the telling quotations from his work in Norwell B. De Atkine and Daniel Pipes, "Middle Eastern Studies: What Went Wrong?" Academic Questions, Winter 1995-1996. So his POV is upfront and frank.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Find one or two more notable authors or publishers who agree with or support Beinin's view, and cite them along with Beinin, and you'll be able to put the criticism (in an NPOV tone, of course) into the article. Be sure to say "According to Joel Beinin, Gilbert wears pink shoes" rather than simply "Gilbert wears pink shoes." V-Man737 05:47, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with inclusion of other reviews. But this review should not be censored. --Aminz 05:49, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
We can put up POV tag showing the need for good reviews. That would work? --Aminz 05:52, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
(EC)I agree, as Wikipedia is not censored. Just make sure not to copy the review word for word, and to note that whichever author you are discussing (as opposed to Wikipedia) is the one who feels a certain way. V-Man737 05:56, 15 February 2007 (UTC) The POV tag is an invitation to other editors to come in and get rid of the POV material; they will come here and realize that the article is talking about a POV source, rather than using it as factual material. I wouldn't worry about it. V-Man737 05:56, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
The review is actually a short comment Beinin makes in his book. Please take a look at it. [1]. Thanks --Aminz 06:00, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
That's it?? I wouldn't feel attacked by those remarks, it seems more like an analysis of the text than an attack on Gilbert. It's perfectly referenced and concise (i.e., it doesn't pile it on). I'm putting it in, but some time in the near future we'll need to balance it out with a positive review. V-Man737 06:09, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
It's unacceptable to find just one view that a certain editor likes and insert it into the article. Wikipedia must reflect teh full range of opinions on Gilbert's work without giving undue weight to any view. The recent addition of criticism is in blatant violation of WP:NPOV. Beit Or 13:51, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Ofcourse that's true Beit Or. But are there other views than that minz is trying to insert? If there are, feel free to post them. But so far you have NOT showed that there are any other scholarly views that exist.Bless sins 20:53, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
If you have other reviews of his book, feelfree to add. --Aminz 21:03, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

<Unindent> Wikipedia must reflect teh full range of opinions on Gilbert's work without giving undue weight to any view. Beit Or, you are totally correct. Without the level criticism, this article would indeed seem to be a mere advertisement for Gilbert, rather than an encyclopedic article stating things about the world around him (including the fact that some people don't hold his books in very high regard). The only way the material would violate WP:NPOV is if it were to use the sources as Wikipedia's view, rather than explaining that it is the view of a critic. You may see this applied in any controversial article. V-Man737 01:13, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

This is a biography of a living person. As such, it needs to be balanced. The article says nothing about any Gilbert's 40 or so books, except to excoriate one specific work. That might be reasonable on some other article, but on a WP:BLP article if you can't find balance, you don't put in anything at all. Jayjg (talk) 21:18, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
No! Wikipedia is not censored. WP:BLP has nothing to do with removal of valid criticisms. See John Esposito's page. There is a criticism section there. Should we remove it as well? I would say no. --Aminz 22:54, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Per WP:BLP#Biased_or_malicious_content: "Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one." Your addition of criticism on one book without adding other views on this celebrated scholar and the official biographer of Winston Churchill has skewed the article towards criticism. It doesn't help your case that the criticism was added after being stumbled upon in GoogleBooks. Beit Or 23:17, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
There is no reason to remove valid criticism. We have not give a disproportionate amount of space to critics: Just a small section and a small quote. --Aminz 23:19, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Probably the solution here would be to go find supportive criticism for Gilbert's books, to "balance it out." If it doesn't exist, there's no reason to clamor for it. The fact remains that the negative criticism does exist, and as such merits mention. If there is positive commentary on Gilbert's work, put it in the article! V-Man737 01:26, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Beit Or's reference to BLP is very instructive. I'm looking at Beinin's book now and it takes a very shrill tone. I doubt his views are shared. Arrow740 04:12, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I second V-Man737. There probably is no other crticism of Gilbert. If there is, then present it (or rather just insert it in the article). Bless sins 18:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

WP:BLP#Biased_or_malicious_content: "Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one." WP:BLPis a very, very serious policy, and if people don't start paying attention to it they're going to get blocked. Jayjg (talk) 00:56, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

What are you talking about? Who said anything about a minority view? A book published by University of California Press, is not a "minority" opinion.
So far you have failed to show that any other criticism even exists.Bless sins 01:25, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
All we know here is that scholar X criticizes a particular work of scholar Y. We don't know anything more. We don't know what the majority of scholars think on this matter. Jayjg, do you have a reliable source saying the criticism is a negligible one? --Aminz 02:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
This has been explained before. Gilbert is a celebrated historian who has written dozens of works, including the seminal work on Churchill. To have the only evaluation of that work be a rather shrill denunciation of one specific work is a violation of WP:BLP#Biased_or_malicious_content: "Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one." I'm not going to explain it again, and I'm not going to put up with any WP:BLP violating nonsense. If you don't know enough about Gilbert to know that he is indeed a world-renowned and celebrated historian, but rather have learned everything you know by googling for any dirt you could find, then don't edit this article. I am dead serious about this. Jayjg (talk) 02:35, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
He seems to be specialized for his works on Churchill. The work we are criticizing is his work on Jewish-Arab history. That's a different story. You say he is a celebrated scholar, well explain that in the article. You say he is the "Greatest scholar ever appeared in the world", well add that to the article. All these don’t make him infallible. He is by no means sacred. He is not "God". You either have reliable sources showing his competence --> in which case you can add them to the article and bring neutrality back OR you don't have any source --> I don't accept that he is super great. --Aminz 02:50, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Note that you didn't address Jayzg's points. Arrow740 02:55, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I think I did. What point didn't I address? --Aminz 02:56, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
No, you didn't. Your arguments boil down to the assertion that Gilbert must have been criticized by someone. Maybe so, but the article should reflect the entire spectrum of opinions about his works, especially the most notable ones, not just criticism of a rather minor book. Beit Or 14:39, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
"I am dead serious about this." You think we are joking?
Again, Beit Or and Jayjg, please show that there exist other criticisms of Martin Gilbert. SO far none of you have shown that. Forget the term "Majority", this is the only criticism we have.Bless sins 16:54, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Your question is not relevant. The article must fairly represent Gilbert according to WP:BLP; adding one querulous criticism of a none-too-important work of his doesn't count, and neither I nor anyone else has to "show" that "there exist other criticisms of Martin Gilbert". In fact, if there is only one criticism of his entire oeuvre anywhere in the world, then one would have to assume that such views are extreme minority views. Either way it doesn't belong. Jayjg (talk) 00:12, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

You are forgetting that the criticism was publsihed by "University of California Press" and the critic is professor at Stanford University and the Director of the Middle East Studies Department at the American University in Cairo. This is what WP:BLP says about criticism:

  • The views of critics should (as opposed to shouldn't) be represented, if
  1. their views are relevant to the subject's notability
  2. are based on reliable sources,
  3. the material is written in a manner that does not overwhelm the article
  4. [the criticism doesn't] appear to side with the critics' material.


1. Very relevent, as it is about the author's academics, for which he is noted, not about his personal/political/religious life etc. The author is partially known for his works on "Holocaust and Jewish history". The critic is also quite notable.

2. As I've demonstrated above the sources are very reliable.

3. Clear from this. If you want, I can give you the % space occupied by the criticism section.

4. It doesn't. We merely quote Beinin, attribute criticism to him, and not state anything as fact (except that Beinin has said what what we claim he said).

Please do respond.Bless sins 05:35, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't forget who it was published by. However, that is still not relevant to the fact that it appears to be an extreme minority opinion, and that it obviously violates WP:BLP, as explained. Please avoid straw man arguments, and keep in mind that I won't be repeating myself on this, it has been explained too many times already. Jayjg (talk) 14:47, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Jayjg, WP:BLP, the policy you claim to be upholding, outlines 4 conditions to put in criticism. I am demonstrating that we have met all 4 conditions, and thus the criticism "should be represented". Not doing so would violate WP:BLP.
How are resepected and scholarly universities and their presses considered "extreme minority"?
BLP says (like you quoted) "Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics". No one is doing that. The space we are giving is indeed very small relative to the rest of the article. You can verify that here.
Jayjg, I think you are misusing BLP and NPOV, by picking a part of the policy, while ignoring the rest. For NPOV, please also take a look this.Bless sins 16:55, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Concensus has been achieved here. Arrow740 19:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP#Biased_or_malicious_content: "Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one." Where are the many positive reviews of his major works? Jayjg (talk) 03:44, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
That's what you can add (since you seem to know for sure that there are positive reviews, you must know where they are too). Also note that BLP says criticism "should be represented". Not doing so would violate WP:BLP, which is not a good thing. Bless sins 03:58, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Until there is a sufficient amount of positive material already in the article, WP:BLP forbids adding only critical material. In addition, "if the criticism represents the views of a tiny minority, it has no place in the article". Jayjg (talk) 04:04, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
"Tiny minority" has only to do with source itself, not with the state of wikipedia. If a source is extremist, it will remain extremist regardless of what a wikipedia article about it says. If Beinin (and University of California Press) are extremist/"tiny minority" sources, then they will remain so, regardless of what I do, or you do. Thus your argument that a "tiny minority" opinion can ever be included in an article is flawed. However, Beinin is not an extremist or "tiny minority".
Again, I'll repeat: not adding the criticism violates NPOV (as it gives a completely rosy view of Gilbert), and WP:BLP (The views of critics should be represented if..., I have shown that the "if" is satisfied above).Bless sins 04:20, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Beinin is Beinin, he is not "The University of California press". "Tiny minority" is "tiny minority", not necessarily "extremist". WP:BLP#Biased_or_malicious_content: "Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one." Nothing gets around that. Don't bother posting any more here until you deal with that issue. Not one word, it won't help. BLP is clear, you must deal with that issue before anything else. Jayjg (talk) 04:30, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Beinin's work was published by the Unviersity of California Press. It is unlikely that the press would publish the work of a tiny minority. Again I'll repeat: your arguments doesn't hold. I am not representing a minority view as if it were the majority one. I am not saying that Benin's views are those that belong to the majority. I am attributing Beinin's views to Beinin and Beinin only. Also, WP:BLP and WP:NPOV will be violated if we don't add the criticism.Bless sins 13:46, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
"It is unlikely that the press would publish the work of a tiny minority." That's your personal view, unsupported by any sources. Beit Or 18:46, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Presses don't publish material that they strongly disagree with. If a press has published something it suggests that the press is totally OK with the material. ALso, University presses don't publish trivial material. Thus if a press published something, it mean that the press regards it as scholarly. This is a general view.Bless sins 17:32, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Beinin's work, which crticizes Gilbert, was considered "The best sort of historical revisionism..." by James P. Jankowski. Jankowski has (co-)authored many works publsihed by prestigious press such Oxford University Press[2] and Cambridge Unviersity Press[3]. What I mean to show is that there are scholars out there who support Beinin's opinions, and he's not alone in his claims. Also, check this website for more (positive) reviews of Beinin's work in question. [4] I hope you are convinced that Beinin's work isn't "tiny minority".Bless sins 14:05, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The question is not about Beilin's work per se, but the importance of Beilin's views on that particular book by Gilbert in the context of this article. Also, the phrase "historical revisionism" is usually used disparagingly. Beit Or 18:46, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
If it is neither Beinin, nor his work that you're discrediting, how exactly are judging the "importance" of his statements?Bless sins 17:32, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I try to find some positive things about Gilbert and Esposito. Meanwhile, I'll remove the criticisms from both articles. --Aminz 02:05, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Please mind WP:POINT. Beit Or 07:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Aminz should mind WP:POINT, but atleast you and Jayjg won't be the ones objecting.Bless sins 17:32, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I would just like to add, as I do below, in the section "deletions in the Criticism section", that where there is notable controversy, all other biographies on wikipedia that I know of deal honestly and openly with criticism in a biography. See Benny Morris, for instance.
There appear to be critics beyond Beinin. Morris' critiques on Gilbert were deleted today. Note that Beinin and Morris do not like each other, do not share the same political perspective. LamaLoLeshLa (talk) 19:10, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Outside comment from RFC[edit]

Sir Martin Gilbert is principally known for his contribution to the biography of Winston Churchill although he has written many other books. In my view, including a section on criticism which includes an extensive quote relating to a fairly obscure book must fail the "undue prominence" part of NPOV, unless and until a much larger section is written which discusses the critical reaction to a much wider area of his writing. It's important to remember that just as film critics don't only make negative judgments about films, a section on criticism should include critical commentary which praises as well as that which condemns. Sam Blacketer 11:32, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The burning question is: is there more criticism of Gilbert, than what has already been presented? So far, no one has shown that. And if this is the only major criticism, then this is not a minority view at all. Bless sins 18:10, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I just did a search of the New York Times book reviews and found several reviews. Sam Blacketer 18:44, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Excellent, now let's put them in, although I haven't looked at the link above.Bless sins 22:20, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Bless sins. Also, Sam, can you please have a look at John Esposito talk page and give your opinion on the criticism section there. Thanks --Aminz 23:44, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The question as I understand it is how much relevance the particular work has to an article on Martin Gilbert. If the work is unimportant to his career then it may be that any discussion of it--positive, negative, or neutral--would only clutter the article. -- Alan McBeth 20:00, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Volume Title[edit]

"Volume Five: The Coming of War 1922-1939" I'm surprised to see this title, since I have only heard this volume sub-titled "Prophet of Truth". Anyone have source material on "The Coming of War"? Czrisher 21:11, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Two things[edit]

  • First, this is puzzling. There was a 'life' section with something about Gilberts son referenced to the NYSun, and it was replaced with a note claiming it was inaccurate. Listing on BLP/N for further input.
  • Second, this article sucks. Seriously. There is no context, none of the attacks that have been launched on Gilbert by TG Ash and such like for under-interpretation and so-on, no reviews or summaries of his style from journals, etc. (This is irritating me, because the first site for "Martin Gilbert" criticism is I would prefer that that not be the case, OK? Fewer people going there the better.) The reason that this in particular matters is that....
  • Gilbert is a prominent RW public intellectual in England and we need some context. Look at Tony Judt for an example of a historian of similar prominence whose political and polemical work is covered in sufficient detail. Remember, this is a man - one of the greatest living historians of WW2 - who specifically compared Bush and Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill. (No, seriously. It was in the Grauniad.) At some point I will add:
  1. Ash's comments
  2. Recent reviews of the third volume of Churchill, which praise the completed work while complaining of its two dimensions
  3. A few views on the 1975 book, which, however poor in quality, appears to be among his most cited
  4. Finally at least a few views on his political positions. Hornplease 21:26, 31 August 2007 (UTC)


I didn't understand this edit. Which MOS policy is Jayjg referring to, and where does it call for the removal of one's religion/ethnicity?Bless sins (talk) 16:12, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:MOSBIO#Opening_paragraph. Jayjg (talk) 05:43, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


Gilbert apparently only has a bachelors degree in history, and got his entree into writing "history" helping Winston Churchill's journalist son write a biography on him. A "historian," as the word is (I think) understood today, is an academic who endeavors to compile an accurate and unbiased understanding of past events, and critical in this endeavor is peer review and criticism. As far as I can tell, Gilbert's historical writings are all popular literature, and he hasn't ever submitted his work for review by academic historians before publication. I have not exhaustively researched that point, but I think it is accurate. He is no doubt considered an authority on Churchill due to his unique access, but beyond that I think it would be more accurate to call him "the author of many historical works," as Amazon does, as opposed to "historian." Tegwarrior (talk) 15:28, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I've changed his description to "author of over seventy books on general history," which is roughly how he is described in the "About the Author" comments in The Churchill War Papers. Tegwarrior (talk) 15:49, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I don’t think that is the common definition of an historian, in general, and it is most clearly not the way Wikipedia defines an Historian, which is “Historians are scholars and authors concerned with the continuous, systematic narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race, as well as the study of all events in time... Historians do not discriminate between the 'amateur' and the professional: anyone who compiles an account is a historian in their own right irrespective of their professional qualifications.” (my emphasis added).
Your definition would exclude all historians of antiquity, such as Herodotus and Thucydides, as well as well known historians without a professional degree, such as Gibbon, Macaulay.

Gilbert is described as an historian by many reliable sources – see this and this – which is Amazon’s blurb which describes him as “the eminent British historian”, no less. Canadian Monkey (talk) 23:20, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

The part you bolded is clearly original research. Tegwarrior (talk) 00:38, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
As we all know, Wikipedia is not a reliable source, and its article on "Historian" is badly broken. Here is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for "historian": "a student or writer of history; especially : one who produces a scholarly synthesis." Is Martin Gilbert a historian, in the especially sense? Maybe; the real test is, do other historians site his work? On Churchill, they probably do, but in that respect he is more accurately a biographer than a historian. The further afield his studies stray from Churchill, I'm not sure, but I'm highly doubtful. Tegwarrior (talk) 03:14, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it'd be ok to say that he's a historian on the world war II era (or something like that). This would be very specific. No one here is about to argue his possible credentials in ancient Chinese history.Bless sins (talk) 04:48, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi, can you find third party, and independent sources? I.e sources who are not polishing him up, just so they can increase their sales of the books. Examples would be book reviews (esp. those published in academic journals) etc. Thanks.Bless sins (talk) 00:08, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Here you go: "a leading historian of the modern world...knighted "for services to British history"...joined the History Department at the University of Western Ontario as an adjunct research professor for a five year tenure"[5]. If this is not an historian, I doubt anyone would qualify. Canadian Monkey (talk) 00:22, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
That would suffice. I suggest we should include his areas of specialization as well.Bless sins (talk) 03:09, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Just came across this: if the argument being made here is that no one can be called an historian unless he has a formal qualification in being an historian, well that's just plain daft. A car mechanic is someone who fixes your car. Makes no difference whether he has a phd or no qualification whatsoever. Similarly, a historian is someone who researches history. Arguably, for our purposes, someone recognised outside wiki for doing this, but this clearly applies to anyone who writes books which have been published by reputable publishers. Sandpiper (talk) 16:14, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes but his field should be mentioned. I don't anyone will claim that he is an expert in ancient Hindu history. We should state what subjects of history he is good at. A car mechanic is exactly that, a car mechanic. Don't expect him to fix your airplane.Bless sins (talk) 13:03, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Deletions in the Criticism section[edit]

This was deleted, when it should perhaps instead have been edited down:

  • Benny Morris has described Martin Gilbert as a propagandist due to his [Martin Gilbert's] use of overinflated casualty figures.[1]. The figure from Israeli sources being over inflated in themselves.[2] For example in "The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Its History in Maps", (1974) in the appended breakdowns Martin Gilbert claims that 114 Israelis were killed in Fedyeen attacks in 1952 alone, however the official casualty figure in the UN gives an Israeli claimed figure of 57 Israelis killed over the period 1949 to December 1952.[2]
I know nothing of gilbert and have no opinion on the matter, but this seems to me a well-sourced critique and in a section on criticism, simply saying, "it doesn't belong" in a biography is not a justification for deletion. See Morris' biography, for instance - plenty of criticism is listed, from people right and left.
None call him inaccurate, though many challenge his decision not to use oral histories and narratives and his failure to mention that he did not have access to all Israeli official internal documents. Morris is a 'hard sources' historian and his credibility on this matter is impeccable. I would add this info back but having veered close to a revert war with the editor who made this deletion, I ask someone else do so. I am not ever in the mood for a revert war. LamaLoLeshLa (talk) 19:06, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I have absolutely no problem with replacing it as the opposition are using an un-named reporter from Scunthorpe (an English provincial town that doesn't have a book shop) as proof positive that Martin Gilbert is meticulous in his work....Ashley kennedy3 (talk) 00:09, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Yet again you are engaging in OR and falsely representing the references. The reference in question is a large selection of book reviews from many different newspapers and reviewers - not just a newspaper published in Scunthorpe, that you again employ OR to describe as some hick town in England, which may be true or not, but is not relevant.--Gilabrand (talk) 05:51, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
This is not WP:OR. This is a "critique" sourced from a WP:RS source (Benny Morris) and illustrated by examples taken from the author work. That sounds good for me. Ceedjee (talk) 10:31, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you take a closer look at the information cited, which he then "bolstered" with figures collected from UN documents followed by OR conclusions. I have brought sources that describe Gilbert's work (for good or for bad), which is the kind of material that belongs on a biographical page. By the way, where did I say that Benny Morris is a Holocaust denier????--Gilabrand (talk) 10:56, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
What Ashley did is not WP:OR.
Where did I say that you claimed that Benny Morris was an holocaust denier. I don't know who did it but the editor who added just after the fact that Martin was criticized by Morris that he was also criticized by holocaust deniers is a naieve pov-pusher. Is this you ? If so, you should take care. Ceedjee (talk) 17:46, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Hardly Gilabrand, the only reference that gave rise to the words in the gilbert article came from the Scunthorpe review.....So for accuracy I put the where the quote came un-named Scunthorpe reporters review....secondly removing a well documented actual verifiable incidence of MGs miss-representation is rather petty. thirdly MG's perspective has always been a glossy, sanitized version of History...he has a good turn of phrase... but a second rate historian, his ducking and diving on Churchill after the Stern gang got active is blatant misrepresentation of Churchill's attitudes, MG's history of the 1st WW is very British orientated with the French as bit part players, his lack of any Arabs in Israel a history is reminiscent of the slogan "a land with no people....", he is good for an introduction to a subject and easy to read but MG is no use for a serious study after that.... Ashley kennedy3 (talk) 10:35, 13 August 2008 (UTC) Gilabrand where you claim I "bolstered" Morris's criticism, you need to read Morris's footnotes, as that is the example that Morris uses....easily verifiable from UN archives and Gilbert's atlas...then read up how Gilbert's sloppy work led to the over-inflated figure....Ashley kennedy3 (talk) 10:41, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

First historical atlases?[edit]

"In the 1960s, Gilbert compiled some of the first historical atlases." His are very fine, but such atlases had been published for over a century. (talk) 12:02, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Restoring properly sourced info in the Lead[edit]

I've just boldly restored the properly sourced info regarding this person in the lead. The rationale about his main work being about Churchill makes no sense as the article is about the person not just his work on Churchill. Please do not revert without discussion. Vexorg (talk) 01:50, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

The user user:Plot Spoiler has reverted the properly sourced edit with the rationale "This doesn't define who he is -- say something about his works." - This is clearly a completely weak excuse for his revert as the info removed is all part of defining who he is. I Shall not revert, even it is warranted as this could be classed as edit warring, so I shall leave it for at least 24 hours before restoring this info. Vexorg (talk) 04:02, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
No, you're well poisoning. This information isn't at all reflected in the article itself -- you just decided to include in the lead. Hence, it does not belong in the lead, even if it is "properly sourced." Plot Spoiler (talk) 07:32, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
No I am not well poisoning and that claim makes no sense in relation to this info. That is just as much a weak excuse as your previous non-rationale. You have just decided to not put this in the lead. This is properly sourced info which does a lot to define this person and you want it removed? Can you tell us why you want this info removed? Vexorg (talk) 16:53, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
And this rationale doesn't make sense either "This information isn't at all reflected in the article itself" so you're saying that becuase something isn't in the article already we can't add it in the lead? Sorry, but you haven't provided any rationale yet to remove well sourced information. I shall leave a reasonable amount of time for other comment before restoring this informationVexorg (talk) 16:56, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Guys, I haven't looked at the history here yet, don't really want to :), so not sure which "side" is which, even by reading this thread, but I did a slight copy edit and added a fact tag about this person being the "offical Churchhill biographer". Is there a citation for this before we get into whether it belongs in the lead? TIA --Tom (talk) 17:28, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
ps, my initial gut feeling is that the lead should include what this person is most notable for being/doing/writing IF that can be determined and agreed upon. I know zip about this, which might be good or bad. Anyways, good luck and please try to get other non involved folks involved to reach consensus/compromise. Cheers! --Tom (talk) 17:32, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
pss, crap, just went over the history, I guess I should have done that first :). ok, it seems you guys are disagreeing about including he is good/practicing Jew, or whatever business, in the lead? This wouldn't go in the lead, imho, even though we point out he has written about the Holocaust and Jews, ect...Again, why is this person notable? Is it for his writings or for his ethnicity or maybe a combination? I don't know if "well-poisoning" is the best description, but I would leave the ethnicity discussion out(of the lead only)...anyways...--Tom (talk) 17:42, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for commenting Tom :) - Plot spoiler's argument that just becuase something isn't reflected in the rest of the article means it should be removed from the article is not any kind of rationale IMO. This person's ethnicity and Political Views are part of what defines him and the info is properly sourced. I shall leave this some more time becuase restoring however. I have found only too well recently that there are many on Wikipedia with political views that are trigger happy when it comes to crying about certain edits Vexorg (talk) 18:10, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree w/ user Tom -- he "understands" the issue. And thanks for assuming good faith when you're the one who is harming the impartiality and quality of the article. There is nothing about his writings on Jewish-related issues in the article but for some reason, darn I don't know, you are going to prominently insert that he is a Jew and proud Zionist. Not that this information shouldn't be included BUT it should be included in some section relating to these issues. For the time being, I believe it constitutes well poisoning at worst and at best just violates WP:Lead and even WP:NPOV. That adequate sourcing is provided does not stop this sentence from violating those issues. Plot Spoiler (talk) 01:49, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Sorry but your rationale is erroneous. There's nothing violating WP:NPOV here. How on earth can someone's own definition of themselves be POV? If you really have such a hang up about it being in the lead, and why I have no idea, then alternatively there's certainly no rationale for not having it in the Biography section. In fact as a compromise that's probably the best option. I'll leave it a while before putting it in the Biography section Vexorg (talk) 02:33, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

That sounds like exactly where it belongs! I concur. Plot Spoiler (talk) 02:55, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
OK Plot Spoiler. Sorted. Thanks for the dialog. :) Vexorg (talk) 03:17, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Praise and criticism[edit]

The last sentence in the Praise and criticism section read poorly in my opinion:

In Israel's Border Wars, historian Benny Morris disputed that Gilbert's accounting of Israeli casualties from Fedayeen attacks in the 1950s was inflated.

In order to rewrite it I checked the source. After reading the source, I modified the sentence as follows:

In Israel's Border Wars, historian Benny Morris called Gilbert's figures for the number of Israelis killed in Fedayeen attacks in the first half of the 1950s pure nonsense and a blatant example of inflation of the numbers in order to justify Israeli policies.

I can understand that, to some editors, it will look like I was trying to savage Gilbert, but the savaging is actually done by Morris. My aim was only to produce a sentence which read better and which faithfully presented what the source says. Morris does use the phrase "pure nonsense" and he does call Gilbert's figures a blatant example of the kind described. Also, the figures do specifically concern numbers killed (the word casualties implies that they deal with the number injured as well) and they do pertain to the first half of the 1950s, not the whole of the 1950s.

My edit was quickly reverted to the previous, poorly reading, version. The comment left was that my version was a BLP violation and not NPOV. If what someone has said is faithfully represented, which I claim my edited version is, and is also ascribed in the article as that person's viewpoint, it cannot be a BLP violation. Various conditions can cause a part of an article to be not NPOV, including misrepresenting a source and undue weight. I think that my version is a closer representation (partly because it uses Morris's actual wording) than the previous version, which presented what Morris said as a mere dispute about numbers. Morris questioned more than Gilbert's figures, he also questioned Gilbert's intention. On the question of undue weight, I'm open to the idea of removing the sentence altogether. Morris's comment is made in a footnote, so perhaps the article is making a bit too much of a deal about it.

    ←   ZScarpia   11:29, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

One author's accusation of bad intent on the part of another living author, in a footnote, is exactly what our BLP policy was intended for and it should not be included in an article.--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 15:09, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Then, let's delete the sentence altogether.     ←   ZScarpia   17:22, 9 February 2012 (UTC) (I'd say that the intention of the BLP policy is more to stop unsourced controversial material being added to articles)

In case anyone is having difficulty accessing the source, this is what Morris says about Gilbert's figures in the footnote (Israel's Border Wars, 1949–1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez War, Benny Morris, ISBN: 0198292627, 1997, Oxford University Press, page 101):

Years later, in a move to justify Israeli policies, propagandists inflated the number of Israelis killed by infiltrators in 1949-1956. A blatant example is contained in M. Gilbert, The Arab-Israeli Conflict: It's History in Marps (new edn., London, 1976), 60, where the author writes that 'between 1951 and 1955 967 Israelis were killed by Arab terrorists operating inside Israel's 1949 borders'. In his appended breakdown, Gilbert states that 111 Israelis were killed in Fedayeen attacks emanating from Jordan and 26 in such attacks emanating from Egypt in 1951; in 1952, the corresponding figures were 114 and 48; in 1953, 124 and 38; in 1954, 117 and 50; and in 1955, 37 and 241. Another 55 Israelis were killed in attacks emanating from Syria and 6 in attacks emanating from Lebanon during 1951-5, according to Gilbert. The figures are pure nonsense, 3-5 times higher than the figures given in contemporary Israeli reports. Gilbert's figures appear to based on Ben-Gurion's statement to the Knesset on 2 Jan. 1956 (reproduced in D. Ben-Gurion, Medinat Yisrael HeMehudeshet (The Restored State of Israel)(Tel Aviv, 1969), ii. 482). But Ben-Gurion had spoken and written about Israeli casualties (nifga'm), meaning dead and wounded, not just fatalities.

    ←   ZScarpia   17:45, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Nobody wants to comment?     ←   ZScarpia   20:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Then ... I've deleted the sentence.     ←   ZScarpia   14:31, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Endorsement of Denis Avey[edit]

I think this article should mention Sir Martin's endorsement of Denis Avey's book 'The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz'. Sir Martin describes this as 'a most important book' and his support must have boosted its sales considerably. There has been considerable controversy regarding the veracity of certain sections of the book but Sir Martin does not appear to have issued any statement retracting any of his support in the preface so his position must be as per the preface. I am not sure whether this should merit a separate section and in an article with 42 watchers thought it best to seek the opinions of others. I would welcome views on this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:10, 16 September 2012 (UTC) Apologies for lack of signiature to preceding (talk) 20:12, 16 September 2012 (UTC)SherlockHolmes249

I consider that Gilbert's endorsement of Avey is extremely significant and deserves to be mentioned. It has given the book much greater credibility than it would otherwise have had. I would suspect that Gilbert's foreword is the most widely circulated of all his writings, other than letters in the press. By the argument that Plotspoiler advances the sentence "His appointment to this inquiry was criticised in parliament by William Hague, Claire Short, George Galloway, and Lynne Jones on the basis that Gilbert had once compared George W. Bush and Tony Blair, to Roosevelt and Churchill" should also be deleted and the references to these leaders put on their webpages. Perhaps the reference I suggested could be shortened a little. Comments from others? SherlockHolmes249 (talk) 16:33, 17 September 2012 (UTC)SherlockHolmes249

I have restored the mention of Denis Avey which another editor reverted without discussing on talk page. Would one say that Hugh Trevor Roper's authentication of the Htiler diaries belongs only on Hitler's entry - it in fact in the lead for Trevor Roper? Gilbert's endorsement surely helped Avey's book to best-seller status. If Gilbert accepted as true something which many others have not accepted, and which to my knowledge no other academic historian has endorsed, surely those with an interest in Gilbert are entitled to know - they may consider it relevant to his judgements on other issues. This is no an attack on Gilbert just a statement of fact. If anyone wishes to revert there please can they respond on this talk page detail for detail and not just leave bald reason in the edit summary. (For avoidance of doubt SherlockHolmes249 is a former user name oof myself which I have now renounced - this is known to an Administrator.) Thanks Sceptic1954 (talk) 08:01, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

book the Routledge Atlas of British History"[edit]

is not mentioned in the section 'works' (5th ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2002, ISBN 978-0415281485)

Should it be mentioned there ? --Neun-x (talk) 14:56, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ Morris, Benny (1997). Israel's Border Wars, 1949–1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez War. Oxford University Press. pp. p.101. ISBN 0198292627. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  2. ^ a b Security Council resolution 630