A Battleship Salesman
Hugh Trevor-Roper was Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford when in 1973 he received a letter from a Swiss doctor named Reinhard Hoeppli. Hoeppli had a strange request. He was in possession of a manuscript of memoirs written by an English scholar he had known in Peking. The author, Edmund Backhouse, had died in 1944; Hoeppli, presumably acting on Backhouse’s wish, wanted the manuscript to be deposited in the Bodleian and perhaps published. After all, the scholar had once donated a number of rare Chinese books to the library. Would Trevor-Roper examine the text and see to its fate in Oxford?