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The sub-branch of history that is known by the ambiguous (and frightening to undergraduates, cats, and many mainstream academics) name “historiography” seems to be undergoing a Renaissance at the moment.
The Birth of Modern Belief is seriously good. It is erudite, insightful, and cogent; but, above all, it enables us to think hard about the relationship between our past and our present.
Triumph in the West is the triumphant conclusion of J. G. A. Pocock’s series on Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–89).
One could perhaps argue that, so far as the popular academic imagination is concerned, America has never had much of a reputation so far as historical theory goes.
Russell, Conrad Sebastian Robert, Fifth Earl Russell (1937–2004)
Totalitarianism as a concept has made something of a comeback in recent years.
Ernest Gellner, who died on 5 November 1995, was one of the great polymaths of the century. Many of his twenty books were concerned with philosophy, sociology and anthropology. Yet at the core of his work was an historical question.