History in the Making

Yale University Press
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From the vantage point of nearly sixty years devoted to research and the writing of history, J. H. Elliott steps back from his work to consider the progress of historical scholarship. From his own experiences as a historian of Spain, Europe, and the Americas, he provides a deft and sharp analysis of the work that historians do and how the field has changed since the 1950s.

The author begins by explaining the roots of his interest in Spain and its past, then analyzes the challenges of writing the history of a country other than one's own. In succeeding chapters he offers acute observations on such topics as the history of national and imperial decline, political history, biography, and art and cultural history. Elliott concludes with an assessment of changes in the approach to history over the past half-century, including the impact of digital technology, and argues that a comprehensive vision of the past remains essential. Professional historians, students of history, and those who read history for pleasure will find in Elliott's delightful book a new appreciation of what goes into the shaping of historical works and how those works in turn can shape the world of thought and action.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Yale University Press
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Published on
Sep 14, 2012
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780300187014
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Historiography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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John Lewis Gaddis
What is history and why should we study it? Is there such a thing as historical truth? Is history a science? One of the most accomplished historians at work today, John Lewis Gaddis, answers these and other questions in this short, witty, and humane book. The Landscape of History provides a searching look at the historian's craft, as well as a strong argument for why a historical consciousness should matter to us today. Gaddis points out that while the historical method is more sophisticated than most historians realize, it doesn't require unintelligible prose to explain. Like cartographers mapping landscapes, historians represent what they can never replicate. In doing so, they combine the techniques of artists, geologists, paleontologists, and evolutionary biologists. Their approaches parallel, in intriguing ways, the new sciences of chaos, complexity, and criticality. They don't much resemble what happens in the social sciences, where the pursuit of independent variables functioning with static systems seems increasingly divorced from the world as we know it. So who's really being scientific and who isn't? This question too is one Gaddis explores, in ways that are certain to spark interdisciplinary controversy. Written in the tradition of Marc Bloch and E.H. Carr, The Landscape of History is at once an engaging introduction to the historical method for beginners, a powerful reaffirmation of it for practitioners, a startling challenge to social scientists, and an effective skewering of post-modernist claims that we can't know anything at all about the past. It will be essential reading for anyone who reads, writes, teaches, or cares about history.
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