In Defense of History

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2000 - History - 287 pages
2 Reviews
A master practitioner gives us an entertaining tour of the historian's workshop and a spirited defense of the search for historical truth. E. H. Carr's What Is History?, a classic introduction to the field, may now give way to a worthy successor. In his compact, intriguing survey, Richard J. Evans shows us how historians manage to extract meaning from the recalcitrant past. To materials that are frustratingly meager, or overwhelmingly profuse, they bring an array of tools that range from agreed-upon rules of documentation and powerful computer models to the skilled investigator's sudden insight, all employed with the aim of reconstructing a verifiable, usable past. Evans defends this commitment to historical knowledge from the attacks of postmodernist critics who see all judgments as subjective. Evans brings "a remarkable range, a nose for the archives, a taste for controversy, and a fluent pen" (The New Republic) to this splendid work."Essential reading for coming generations."-Keith Thomas
 

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In defense of history

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Evans (history, Cambridge Univ.) defends traditional history against the onslaught of postmodernist theories, which hold that ultimate historical truth is not only unattainable but does not exist. In ... Read full review

Contents

The History of History
13
History Science and Morality
39
Historians and Their Facts
65
Sources and Discourses
89
Causation in History
111
Society and the Individual
139
Knowledge and Power
165
Objectivity and Its Limits
193
Notes
221
Further Reading
253
Index
273
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About the author (2000)

Richard J. Evans is professor of modern history at Cambridge University. A preeminent historian of Germany, his books include Death in Hamburg and In Hitler's Shadow.

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