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In Remembering the Road to World War Two Patrick Finney (a student of 20th-century international history, history and theory, and collective memory) writes an impressive and informative account, not of the origins of the Second World War, but of the way historians and others have remembered those origins.
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.
Scholarly research on the Holocaust, carried out in many disciplines but especially in the field of history, is dynamic and constantly progressing; several giant leaps in its expansion can be discerned, mainly since the end of the 1970s.
The writing of history – any history – is shaped by the intellectual environment in which it is written, and by the preoccupations of its writers. As Christopher Tyerman acknowledges in his prefatory remarks, ‘writing history is not a neutral revelation but a malleable, personal, contingent, cultural activity’ (p. xi).
Hayden White is a controversial figure in the world of history. Study any textbook on the theory and philosophy of history, and you will be assured that his 1973 book Metahistory marked a revolutionary turning point in historical theory.
The first thing that stands out from this study is how passionate and volcanic was E. P. Thompson’s intellectual life as a historian, Marxist thinker, and informed campaigner. He was devoted to reason. Indeed, one of the left-wing journals with which he was involved was entitled The New Reasoner.
The thesis and value of Andrew Elliott’s new study of ‘medieval film’ are neatly encapsulated by his reminding us at the end of the book’s preface that, in the medieval tradition, the Grail quest involved asking, not answering, the right questions.
In History in the Discursive Condition (2011) – a follow up to her (for me) ground-breaking Realism and Consensus (1), and Sequel to History: Postmodernism and the Crisis of Representational Time (2) – Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth, a student of interdisciplinary cultural history and theory, explores the practical implicat
Over the past few decades we have been invited to rethink history, pursue it, practise it, defend it, refigure it, and generally consider what it is, what it’s for, and whether we really need to bother with it. Now, just as we think it must all be done and dusted, if not done to death, we are offered more advice on ‘doing’ it.
The former Master of Peterhouse, Herbert Butterfield, has become something of a cottage industry over the past ten years or so, with a number of monographs resurrecting a career that had previously fallen into neglect.