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Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of…
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Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (1970)

by David Hackett Fischer

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David Fischer’s book Historians' Fallacies: toward a logic of historical thought is one of the most helpful method focused historiographies I have read. It is also one of the most daring. Fischer, then a young PhD, gives examples of failures in reasoning pulled from the published writings of his more experienced fellows. I see myself rereading this book until his list of errors of logic are firmly lodged in my mind and I can recognize them in my own work as well as I do when he explains his examples.

If I had a complaint it would be that the book has not been updated in forty years. Most of the works he pulled his examples from are lost in the past. I am sure that, even after the publication of this book, logical fallacies have crept into current works.

On the other hand reading Fischer speak of America’s Viet Nam policy in the present tense reminded me of my youth and made me check the books publication date. Thanks to reading the book I know that just because Star Trek’s Mr. Spock was popularizing logical thought just a few years before the books publication Spock is not necessarily the reason it was written. ( )
1 vote TLCrawford | Dec 14, 2010 |
This book is an essential read for anyone considering a career as a historian, or even interested in the historical process and wanting to be able to look at historical writing more critically.

I'll agree with the commenter that said the book dragged in places--by the end you can definitely tell he had a length requirement to meet! Still, the first 75% of the book is incredibly useful, even if you just want to be able to shout "Fallacy!" during debates with friends. ;) ( )
  okrysmastree | Oct 27, 2009 |
An essential work for any historian or social scientist. This book may not be what you need to learn how to write, but it is certainly about how not to do it.
  Fledgist | Mar 8, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061315451, Perfect Paperback)

"If one laughs when David Hackett Fischer sits down to play, one will stay to cheer. His book must be read three times: the first in anger, the srcond in laughter, the third in respect....The wisdom is expressed with a certin ruthlessness. Scarcly a major historian escapes unscathed. Ten thousand members of the AmericanHistorical Association will rush to the index and breathe a little easier to find their names absent.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:36 -0400)

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