The History Man

Malcolm Bradbury

01 June 2017
272 pages


A ruthless satire of academic life, The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury is a witty campus novel and one of the most influential books of the 1970s.

With an introduction by James Naughtie.

Take a Valium. Have a party. Go on a demo. Shoot a soldier. Make a bang. Bed a friend. That’s your problem-solving system . . . But haven’t we tried all that?

Howard Kirk, product of the Swinging Sixties, radical university lecturer, and one half of a very modern marriage, is throwing a party. The night will have all sorts of repercussions: for Henry Beamish, Howard’s desperate and easily neglected friend, and for Howard’s wife, promiscuous ’70s liberal and exhausted victim of motherhood.

Funny, disconcerting and provocative, Bradbury's classic novel brilliantly satirizes a world of academic power struggles as his anti-hero seduces his away around campus. But is also reveals a marriage in crisis and demonstrates the fragility of the human heart.

The funniest and best-written novel I have seen for a very long time
Grim wit, chill comedy and a fictional energy which is as imaginative as the tale is shocking
Malcolm Bradbury has come up with a novel that simply must be read