Discussed this question with the wonderful Antony Beevor today in a London coffeeshop. He said the defining text for British historical writing was "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Gibbon. Full of detail, and narrative sparkles ... the revelations coming from the unusual, and are gathered even in erratic ways through a colorful narrative. The German way, however, seems more dry: Have a thesis and defend it. However, will that not lead to suffocation?