have no dominion,” Dylan Thomas wrote in one of his better poems.
Isaiah Berlin, the political philosopher, died in 1997, aged 88; Hugh Trevor-Roper, the historian, died in 2003, aged 89.
But in death both men have been more prolific than when they were alive.
He worked at the British Embassy in Washington during the war, in charge of monitoring the changing political winds in Britain’s most important ally, and at the embassy in Moscow immediately thereafter, meeting Anna Akhmatova (who wrote a poem about him) and Boris Pasternak (who gave him a copy of “Doctor Zhivago” to smuggle out of the country).
Trevor-Roper worked for the Secret Intelligence Service in the war.
The resulting book, “The Last Days of Hitler”, turned Trevor-Roper into a celebrity and kept him in funds.
“An infinite, endless, golden shower of American dollars flows ceaselessly into my pockets,” he wrote at the time.
The Soviets had circulated the rumour that Hitler had escaped from his bunker and was living in the West.
White suggested that Trevor-Roper use his forensic skills to prove beyond doubt that Hitler had died in his bunker.
Trevor-Roper preferred the solitude of the study and the discipline of the pen (“the beauty of conversation”, he confided to his journals, “consists of the mute, attentive faces of one’s fellow talkers”).