We now enter an intellectual world utterly unlike that of the generous quasitranscendental, cross-discursive, playful, radical one of Derrida, Baudrillard and Lyotard. Here is a world of the flat-earth variety. It is pre-eminently that of practical, technical, ‘Serious Men’; of those suffering very badly from the ‘effects of gravity’ as Nietzsche might have put it-and punned it. And this feeling of coming down to earth, of entering a more mean-spirited, often rather arrogant and dismissive discourse can be confirmed by working through Evans’s purportedly sensible, ostensibly moderate and generally much praised book. For while Evans gives the (I think spurious) impression that he has actually read a lot of theory and that he is receptive to even some postmodern aspects of it, he remains adamant that any flights of fancy should be firmly grounded on the work-bench of the day-to-day experience of the jobbing historian.1 Consequently, it is against the criterion of getting one’s hands dirty in the archive (in fact the really rather precious ‘artisan’ side of the professional) that anything alien will be rejected or allowed. The first of Evans’s assumptions which figure his position, then, is what I have termed assimilationism.