Times of his life…
Dan Carrier talks to Daniel Snowman about his new memoir which serves as a fascinating study of recent history.
BORN when their parents were fighting Hitler, the mid 20th-century generation lived through the rise and demise of the post-war social contract.
It provided free health care, built decent homes, expanded access to education, offered employment for all – and saw Britain’s Imperial might replaced with a soft power based on language, creativity and culture.
It was against this backdrop that Daniel Snowman carved out a career as a historian at Sussex University, a producer and broadcaster at the BBC, an expert on the social history of opera, and much more. Now Daniel, who lives in Kentish Town, has taken stock of his personal experience and penned a memoir that tells his story and the period that shaped him.
"Daniel Snowman has brought zest and boundless curiosity to every aspect of his very wide and always impressive professional life. These pages reflect all that in joyful abundance."
LORD PETER HENNESSY
"Daniel says somewhere that he doesn’t want to judge people. And he doesn’t. He writes candidly about his orthodox Jewish background, the benefits brought by German refugees, the evils of McCarthyism, the racism of the American South. He has been everywhere. As a musician and broadcaster, he has interviewed politicians like Crossman, luminaries like Barbirolli, and befriended singers like Domingo. He has even calmly discussed ‘the bomb’ with Harry Truman. He is a writer, producer, performer, historian and human being all in one and this book deserves to be read widely."
11th Earl of Sandwich and former President of the Pepys Club
"Daniel Snowman’s well-lived life – as broadcaster, historian, singer, lecturer, opera-buff – has taken him around the world and brought him in contact with many of the cultural and political greats of the modern world. His warmly empathetic, intelligent and open-minded personality informs every page of this insightful and civilised memoir."
Editor of History Today, 1997–2008
"I have known Daniel over 70 years, but had no idea what a rich and full life he has led. I found it so impressive how he has managed to combine his two loves, history and music, largely through his world-wide travels and research, and his fascinating interviews (about some of which I would have liked to have learned more!). The book is beautifully presented, easy to read and well illustrated. I particularly appreciated the shortish chapters.
I would happily award Daniel the alpha star he apparently always wanted!"
"A masterpiece by a profound thinker: wonder and wisdom, grace and beauty, sprinkled with the human condition, dazzle the senses."