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History and Historians by Mark T. Gilderhus

History and Historians

by Mark T. Gilderhus

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Mark Gilderhus’s book History and historians : a historiographical introduction is exactly what it says, an introduction to the history of the study of history. The book focuses on historians and what they thought constituted history. Gilderhus discuss’ many of the usual suspects, Herodotus, Thucydides, and others but there were a few unfamiliar names tossed in. There is very little discussion of the schools of historical thought but that is understandable in a work this short. What discussion there is on the subject is insightful but very basic. I particularly liked his description of Voltaire's view of history as a movement away from ignorance and superstition and toward rationality and enlightenment (pg 51) after mentioning Francis Fukuyama’s theory that referred to the end of the Cold War and the victory of conservative ideals as the end of history (pg 2).

This is an interesting book that Gilderhus meant to be a very basic introduction to the study of history. He succeeded, he even included a short section on the importance of good writing in history which is the reason I decided to major in the subject, to learn to write. ( )
  TLCrawford | Jul 8, 2013 |
Very brief overview of some common historiographical approaches. Good for giving a big picture. If one really gets interested in this subject, one needs to look elsewhere for more details. ( )
  quizshow77 | Aug 7, 2011 |
I feel like I know this book really, really well... I had to read it in order to mark 30 book reports written by first-year college students for their Western Civ. class. Ah, the joys of being a TA. The students were all apparently terrified of this book, even though it's barely 100 pages long... but it's jam-packed with information, and very well put together.

The book is an introduction to historiography (ie. the history of historical writing), so it's not comprehensive in any way. Anyone looking for a full overview of history's history should choose another book, but as an introduction, this little volume is informative, well-organized, and very readable.

I'd definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the history of historical writing... which is just as fascinating as history itself, it turns out. Admittedly, I wish it had been just a tad longer... just a tad, to elaborate on a few areas such as the postmodern approach to history. But I suppose that's what all the other books listed in the reference section are for! ( )
1 vote dk_phoenix | Oct 15, 2010 |
An introduction to the basic theory of history, from ancient times to the present. Includes a postscript on the contemporary culture wars.
  Fledgist | Oct 20, 2007 |
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