Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reggie's Review of Michael Burleigh's Sacred Causes (2006)

I have long been a Burleigh reader and was honoured when he agreed to be one of my PhD examiners (he passed me!)  Reggie has written a very insightful review of Burleigh's Sacred Causes.  It is in two parts and is a very good recount of the principal features of Burleigh's narrative.  Of interest to me in particular, are his comments on Pius XII which begin the second part of the review.  Burleigh's treatment of Pius follows what I believe is an authentic historians response - he basis his judgement on the available data, and avoids the polemic that has so often clouded any rational debate on Pius XII.  It is long article, so rather than reproduce the review here, I encourage the reader to indulge and go to Reggie's blog and enjoy the experience.


  1. Thanks for the kind words, Paul. I like Burleigh's work, and I'm glad that you appreciated the review.

  2. Dear Dr. O'Shea,
    you write: "Burleigh's treatment of Pius follows what I believe is an authentic historians response".

    So, how do you explain the NYT's review of Burleigh's book by Professor Judt where we can read such a things:
    "Burleigh seems truly to believe that there is a longstanding liberal historians’ conspiracy to ignore or slander “the ‘Catholic Church'... In Burleigh’s reading, Pius can do almost no wrong. Indeed, according to Burleigh, he was simply too subtle to be appreciated today...Animosity toward his professional colleagues saturates Michael Burleigh’s book and does it a crippling disservice. He sacrifices coherence and credibility for the pleasure of settling scores with others whose visibility he palpably begrudges..."



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