Engagement with the Past: The Lives and Works of the World War II Generation of Historians

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University Press of Kentucky, Dec 1, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 372 pages
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., John Hope Franklin, Daniel Boorstin, C. Vann Woodward, Edmund S. Morgan, Barbara Tuckman, Eric Hobsbawn, Hugh Trevor Roper, Lawrence Stone—aside from carrying the distinction as some of the most successful and well-respected historians of the twentieth century, these scholars found their lives and careers evolving amid some of the world's pivotal historical moments. Dubbed the World War II Generation, the twenty-two English and American historians chronicled by William Palmer grew up in the aftermath of World War I, went to college in the 1930s as the threats of the Great Depression, Hitler, and Communism loomed over them, saw their careers interrupted by World War II, and faced the prospect of nuclear annihilation. They gained from their experiences the perspective and insight necessary to wrtie definitive histories on topics ranging from slavery to revolution. Engagement with the Past offers biographies of these individuals in the context of their generation's intellectual achievement. Based upon extensive personal interviews and careful reading of their work, Engagement with the Past is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a generation of historians and how they helped record and shape modern history.
 

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Contents

Beginings
5
Harvard the 1930s and the Making of a Historical Generation
21
Other American Colleges and Universities
38
The English University Experience in the 1930s
54
V Was for Victory
74
Building Careers in the Postwar World
91
At the Pinnacle Mostly
123
Teaching
153
The Controversialists
201
The Archival Revolution
231
Synthesis Printed Sources and Other Kinds of History
263
Conclution
300
Appendix
309
Notes
317
Bibliography
347
Acknowledgements
357

PART II
177
The Cultural Critics
179

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Page ix - Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage...
Page ix - I'm often accused of not having "story" enough. I seem to myself to have as much as I need to show my people, to exhibit their relations with each other; for that is all my measure. If I watch them long enough I see them come together, I see them placed, I see them engaged in this or that act and in this or that difficulty. How they look and move and speak and behave, always in the setting I have found for them, is my account of them - of which I dare say, alas, que cela manque souvent d...
Page 357 - The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention.

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