Several months ago I made the unpleasant discovery that sections of the 2013 best-selling book Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Sir Max Hastings, the prolific British popular historian, looked an awful lot like one of my scholarly articles. Of course, plagiarism is among the gravest of charges among historians so I explained the situation in open-letter format, a post on my blog, expecting some sort of a reply from Hastings or his publisher. As I have received no reply of any sort, although I know through third parties that Hastings is aware of the matter, it’s time to explain this matter in detail – and let you decide if this is plagiarism or not.
Chapter Four of Hastings’ book is titled “Disaster on the Drina”1 – which just happens to be the title of my article published in the academic journal War in History eleven years before.2 Nowhere does Hastings mention that he has “borrowed” my article title for his chapter title. Both discuss the ill-fated Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia in August 1914. This is especially germane because “Disaster on the Drina” is the also the title of a chapter in my newly released book Fall of the Double Eagle: The Battle for Galicia and the Demise of Austria-Hungary.
Is this plagiarism?
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