In this volume, English historian Richard Evans offers a defence of the importance of his craft. At a time of deep scepticism about our ability to learn anything from the past, even to recapture any serious sense of past cultures and ways of life, Evans shows us why history is both possible and necessary. His demolition of the wilder claims of postmodern historians, who deny the possibility of any realistic grasp of history, seeks to be witty and well balanced. He takes us into the historians' workshop to show us just how good history gets written, and explains the deadly political dangers of losing a historical perspective on the way we live our lives. This new edition contains an extensive afterword by the author.
'Not only one of our most distinguished historians but also one of the most valuable contributors to historical theory' Spectator In formulating an answer to the question of 'What is History', Carr argues that the 'facts' of history are simply those which historians have chosen to focus on. All historical facts come to us as a result of interpretive choices by historians influenced by the standards of their age. Now for the first time in Penguin Modern Classics, with an introduction by Richard J. Evans, author of the Third Reich trilogy.
Richard Evans wrote In Defence of History at a time when the historian's profession was coming under heavy attack as a result of the 'cultural turn' taken by the discipline during the late 1980s and the 1990s. Historians were being forced to face up to postmodern thinking, which argued that, because all texts were the product of biased writers who had incomplete information, none could be privileged above others. In this reading, there could be no objective history, merely the study of the texts themselves. While In Defence of History addresses all aspects of historical method, its key focus is on an extensive evaluation of this postmodern thinking. Evans judges the acceptability of the reasoning advanced by the postmodernists - and finds it badly wanting. He is strongly critical both of the relevance and of the adequacy of their arguments, seeking to show that, ultimately, they are guilty of failing to accept the logic of their own position. All texts are equally valid, or invalid, they suggest - while insisting that the products of their own school are in fact more 'true' than those of their opponents. Evans concludes by pointing out that this same argument could be advanced to suggest that the works of Holocaust deniers are just as valid as are those of historians who accept that the Nazis set out to commit genocide. So why, he demands, is no postmodernist willing to say as much? A devastating example of the usefulness of relentless evaluation.
The new edition of G. R. Elton's classic work is a wide-ranging, succinct and practical introduction for all students and general readers of history. It makes a major contribution to the question "what is history?".
ECONOMIST BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016 'A scintillating, encyclopaedic history, rich in detail from the arcane to the familiar... a veritable tour de force' Richard Overy, New Statesman 'Transnational history at its finest ... .. social, political and cultural themes swirl together in one great canvas of immense detail and beauty' Gerard DeGroot, The Times 'Dazzlingly erudite and entertaining' Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times A masterpiece which brings to life an extraordinarly turbulent and dramatic era of revolutionary change. The Pursuit of Power draws on a lifetime of thinking about nineteenth-century Europe to create an extraordinarily rich, surprising and entertaining panorama of a continent undergoing drastic transformation. The book aims to reignite the sense of wonder that permeated this remarkable era, as rulers and ruled navigated overwhelming cultural, political and technological changes. It was a time where what was seen as modern with amazing speed appeared old-fashioned, where huge cities sprang up in a generation, new European countries were created and where, for the first time, humans could communicate almost instantly over thousands of miles. In the period bounded by the Battle of Waterloo and the outbreak of World War I, Europe dominated the rest of the world as never before or since: this book breaks new ground by showing how the continent shaped, and was shaped by, its interactions with other parts of the globe. Richard Evans explores fully the revolutions, empire-building and wars that marked the nineteenth century, but the book is about so much more, whether it is illness, serfdom, religion or philosophy. The Pursuit of Power is a work by a historian at the height of his powers: essential for anyone trying to understand Europe, then or now.
A high-energy philosophical manifesto on the concept and virtues of universal values addresses such topics as Heidegger's engagement with the Third Reich, the role of class struggles in global capitalism, and the legacy of Christianity against New Age spiritualism. Original.
For two hundred years after the French Revolution, the Republican tradition celebrated the execution of princes and aristocrats, defending the Terror that the Revolution inflicted upon on its enemies. But recent decades have brought a marked change in sensibility. The Revolution is no longer judged in terms of historical necessity but rather by “timeless” standards of morality. In this succinct essay, Sophie Wahnich explains how, contrary to prevailing interpretations, the institution of Terror sought to put a brake on legitimate popular violence—in Danton’s words, to “be terrible so as to spare the people the need to be so”—and was subsequently subsumed in a logic of war. The Terror was “a process welded to a regime of popular sovereignty, the only alternatives being to defeat tyranny or die for liberty.”
Modern Historiography is the essential introduction to the history of historical writing. It explains the broad philosophical background to the different historians and historical schools of the modern era, from James Boswell and Thomas Carlyle through to Lucien Febure and Eric Hobsbawm and surveys: the Enlightenment and Counter Enlightenment Romanticism the voice of Science and the process of secularization within Western intellectual thought the influence of, and broadening contact with, the New World the Annales school in France Postmodernism. Modern Historiography provides a clear and concise account of this modern period of historical writing.
In ruling against the controversial historian David Irving, whose libel suit against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt was tried in April 2000, the High Court in London labeled Irving a falsifier of history. No objective historian, declared the judge, would manipulate the documentary record in the way that Irving did. Richard J. Evans, a Cambridge historian and the chief adviser for the defense, uses this famous trial as a lens for exploring a range of difficult questions about the nature of the historian's enterprise.
A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940 instead of Churchill: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged. Alternative history has long been the stuff of parlor games, war-gaming, and science fiction, but over the past few decades it has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. The historian Richard J. Evans now turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on a subject typically the purview of armchair historians. The book's main concern is examining the intellectual fallout from historical counterfactuals, which the author defines as "alternative versions of the past in which one alteration in the timeline leads to a different outcome from the one we know actually occurred." What if Britain had stood at the sidelines during the First World War? What if the Wehrmacht had taken Moscow? The author offers an engaging and insightful introduction to the genre, while discussing the reasons for its revival in popularity, the role of historical determinism, and the often hidden agendas of the counterfactual historian. Most important, Evans takes counterfactual history seriously, looking at the insights, pitfalls, and intellectual implications of changing one thread in the weave of history. A wonderful critical introduction to an often-overlooked genre for scholars and casual readers of history alike.
This classic introduction to the study of history invites the reader to stand back and consider some of its most fundamental questions - what is the point of studying history? How do we know about the past? Does an objective historical truth exist and can we ever access it? In answering these central questions, John Tosh argues that, despite the impression of fragmentation created by postmodernism in recent years, history is a coherent discipline which still bears the imprint of its nineteenth-century origins. Consistently clear-sighted, he provides a lively and compelling guide to a complex and sometimes controversial subject, while making his readers vividly aware of just how far our historical knowledge is conditioned by the character of the sources and the methods of the historians who work on them. The sixth edition has been revised and updated with key new material including: - a brand new chapter on public history - sections on digitised sources and historical controversy - discussion of topics including transnational history and the nature of the archive - an expanded range of examples and case studies - a comprehensive companion website providing valuable supporting material, study questions and a bank of primary sources. Lucid and engaging, this edition retains all the user-friendly features that have helped to make this book a favourite with both students and lecturers, including marginal glosses, illustrations and suggestions for further reading. Along with its companion website, this is an essential guide to the theory and practice of history.
'A must-read ... satisfying, rich ... loaded with flavour' Sunday Telegraph This book is a celebration of food. By food, Michael Pollan means real, proper, simple food - not the kind that comes in a packet, or has lists of unpronounceable ingredients, or that makes nutritional claims about how healthy it is. More like the kind of food your great-grandmother would recognize. In Defence of Food is a simple invitation to junk the science, ditch the diet and instead rediscover the joys of eating well. By following a few pieces of advice (Eat at a table - a desk doesn't count. Don't buy food where you'd buy your petrol!), you will enrich your life and your palate, and enlarge your sense of what it means to be healthy and happy. It's time to fall in love with food again. For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His most recent book, about the ethics and ecology of eating, is The Omnivore's Dilemma, named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature.
A classic essay on the distortions of history that occur when historians impose a rigid point of view on the study of the past.
A war that has killed over a million Iraqis was a ‘humanitarian intervention’, the US army is a force for liberation, and the main threat to world peace is posed by Islam. Those are the arguments of a host of liberal commentators, ranging from Christopher Hitchens to Kanan Makiya, Michael Ignatieff, Paul Berman, and Bernard-Henri Levy. In this critical intervention, Richard Seymour unearths the history of liberal justifications for empire, showing how savage policies of conquest—including genocide and slavery—have been retailed as charitable missions. From the Cold War to the War on Terror, Seymour argues that the colonial tropes of ‘civilization’ and ‘progress’ still shape liberal pro-war discourse, and still conceal the same bloody realities. From the Hardcover edition.
Collects twelve previously unpublished essays by one of Britain's most eminent historians, David Cannadine, including his inaugural and valedictory lectures at the Institute of Historical Research. A unique volume discussing the study and nature of History itself and a range of key topics and periods in British and Imperial History.
Publisher's description: First published in 1978, this book rapidly established itself as a classic of modern Marxism. Cohen's masterful application of advanced philosophical techniques in an uncompromising defense of historical materialism commanded widespread admiration. In the ensuing twenty years, the book has served as a flagship of a powerful intellectual movement--analytical Marxism. In this expanded edition, Cohen offers his own account of the history, and the further promise, of analytical Marxism. He also expresses reservations about traditional historical materialism, in the light of which he reconstructs the theory, and he studies the implications for historical materialism of the demise of the Soviet Union.
The Postmodern History Reader is the most comprehensive collection of influential texts on historiography and postmodernism yet compiled. Keith Jenkins expertly selects from the books and journal articles across the whole historiographical range that have been key to the transforming debates. This unique reader is a clear introduction to the impact of postmodernism on historical debate, allowing easy access to one of the more stimulating and exciting areas of current history. It provides: -- extracts from influential historians, such as Barthes, Joyce, White, Foucault, Baudrillard and Ankersmit -- individual contributions to each carefully defined debate -- many thoroughly up-to-date as well as 'classic' pieces -- texts from a range of subdisciplines in history and theory -- arguments both for and against postmodernism -- access to key writings that are not normally readily available -- advice on further reading Presented in a format that is both easy to use and challenging, The Postmodern History Reader will serve as an invaluable course text and reference tool for students and postgraduates.