Most helpful positive review
86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on 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!