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What Is History? (1961)

by Edward Hallett Carr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Trevelyan Lectures (1961)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,609227,935 (3.76)43
Who is to say how things really were? In formulating a modern answer to the question 'What is History?' Professor Carr shows that the 'facts' of history are simply those which historians have selected for scrutiny. Millions have crossed the Rubicon, but the historians tell us that only Caesar's crossing was significant. All historical facts come to us as a result of interpretative choices by historians influenced by the standards of their age. Yet if absolute objectivity is impossible, the role of the historian need in no way suffer; nor does history lose its fascination. This edition includes new material which presents the major conclusions of Professor Carr's notes for the second edition and a new preface by the author, in which he calls for ‘a saner and more balanced outlook on the future'.… (more)
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» See also 43 mentions

English (16)  Spanish (3)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Very enlightening series of lectures on the value of history. Recommend to anyone studying or generally interested in the 'art' of history. ( )
  Neal_Anderson | Apr 2, 2020 |
The first couple chapters are interesting but it becomes quite repetitive and dry as Carr delves deeper into the subject. By no means a bad book, just requires a sharp mind with a keen interest in historiography. Well worth a reread. ( )
  Cyberria | Oct 28, 2018 |
The George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures Delivered in the University of Cambridge, January-March 1961.
  LanternLibrary | Oct 22, 2017 |
It puzzles me that Carr was taken so seriously as a "distinguished historian" in British academic circles, considering that he spent the first part of his career championing appeasement of Germany and much of the rest admiring Stalin. ( )
  antiquary | Jun 21, 2017 |
A stimulating theoretical overview of the study of history; its main strength is that you don't feel like you have to agree with everything E. H. Carr is advocating, whilst still engaging with his arguments. I agreed with a lot of his ideas, and disagreed with a lot too, and that's all fine. He was a bit too enamoured with Marx for my tastes and, as Richard J. Evans notes in his (sometimes overly-) critical introduction, some of his stuff – partly because of this quasi-Marxist worldview – now seems out of date. But What is History? continues to provoke debate and will continue to encourage students to think about what remains an undervalued and fascinating subject. ( )
  Mike_F | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carr, Edward Hallettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, R. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, Richard J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention."
Catherine Morland on History
(Northanger Abbey, Ch. XIV)
Dedication
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What is history?
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
«Spesso mi stupisco che debba essere così noiosa, che in gran parte è frutto d'invenzione» CATHERINE MORLAND, a proposito della storia (Northanger Abbey, cap. XIV)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Who is to say how things really were? In formulating a modern answer to the question 'What is History?' Professor Carr shows that the 'facts' of history are simply those which historians have selected for scrutiny. Millions have crossed the Rubicon, but the historians tell us that only Caesar's crossing was significant. All historical facts come to us as a result of interpretative choices by historians influenced by the standards of their age. Yet if absolute objectivity is impossible, the role of the historian need in no way suffer; nor does history lose its fascination. This edition includes new material which presents the major conclusions of Professor Carr's notes for the second edition and a new preface by the author, in which he calls for ‘a saner and more balanced outlook on the future'.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140135847, 0141037733

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