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July 27 2019
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Professor Norman Stone, photographed on June 14, 1988.

No other leading British historian of the Cold War could draw, as Norman Stone did, on the experience of spending three months in a communist jail. As a research student in Vienna in the early 1960s, he was imprisoned in Bratislava after being caught trying to smuggle a Hungarian dissident across the Czech-Austrian border in his car boot. The man was in love with a girl Stone had met and he had tried to reunite them; the Daily Express dubbed Stone the “Tartan Pimpernel”.

At his best, as in his first book The Eastern Front 1914-17, the multilinguist displayed a mastery of sources in several languages, a flair for technical and economic detail and a shrewd eye for the underlying reality of events, personalities and trends.

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