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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Pursuit of History
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 November 2001
Having completed a BA Honours degree in History in 1999 I am still very surprised by the rarity of a worthwhile book on my subject. One that unpacks the discipline itself, inspires enthusiasm and a genuine sense of enjoyment. Invariably you are pointed in the direction of 'How to Study' books as a substitute. But these are an appalling slog for the average reader. They usually comprise 200 pages on how to skim read, make a spider diagram and render a perfectly good text book worthless with a flourescent green highlighter pen! In fact, most 'This is History' books that you can lay hands on are even worse, being almost always 'Source- hysterical'. Just how many times can you explain 'Primary' 'Secondary' and the 'Who', 'What' 'When' and 'To what end' conundrums of witting and unwitting testimony? Then if we stay awake long enough to reach chapter three we step into the academic minefield of verbose and complex 'Marx-speak'. Usually by this time I've joined 'Clarinet' or Tai Chi classes at the local College; sat next to ladies that resemble Renee Roberts of 70's Coronation Street fame. Thankfully however, John Tosh has saved us from such nightmares and produced a little triumph here. Nice, smooth, prose which glides through the subject with fluent skill. He handles historicism and theory without getting bogged down and I was left feeling genuinely 'interested'. History as a subject became far too Weimar obsessed-especially at A level- and fresh, new approaches are needed. Well done John!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2007
John Tosh is in my view an excellent writer. This book enables even dimwits like me to understand the basics of historiography - the methods of history. This edition has really helpful notes in the margins explaining more complicated terms in a very simple way - spelling out anachronistic for example. Where I disagree with him slightly is in his emphasis on oral history being a technique rather than a 'genre'. OK he dedicates a fair bit of space to his book to discussing oral history but is not as positive about its contribution as Gwyn Prins - whose argument is better backed up by sources.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2001
This book is great as it looks at how to go about researching local history looking at issues such as oral, visual and written history. As it says in the title the author looks at "aims, methods and new directions in the study of modern history". Its a very good book for those just starting to look at researching history.Tosh deals with the problems that surround the uses of primary and secondary sources.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2011
Tosh is a great author and brilliantly put this book together, excellent for students and the general reader... He explains his view of the development of the discipline of History and its many branches that have formed over the recent past
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2007
This is a good introduction to the ongoing debates surrounding history. I brought it when I was studying the nature and purpose of history at uni and it did help me. Tosh covers many topics, including the use of history, sources and oral history, themes and many others in an objective way, using a lot of sources. His only problem is his work is not all that easy to read, and I often found myself having to read some pages several times over for the message to sink in.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2012
As a BA History student, I am struggling to read this book. I love the debate about postmodernism and the limits of historical knowledge, but I find this book incredibly dull and completely uninspiring. If it is an option, please save yourself from this insipid book and opt for a slightly, albeit still rather dull, better book, I'd reccommed E. H. Carr's 'What is History'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2013
I am studying History and this book is very clearly written and easy to understand, I have found it useful to refer to for essay writing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2013
My daughter required this book for her History Honours course and she has found it most helpful and informative - an excellent aid to anyone studying History.
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on 5 October 2014
My daughter is using this as a course guide at Uni. She finds it thorough and and easy to understand
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on 3 November 2014
History book for Uni. Not a thing to be said about it, just a necessity.
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