FREE Delivery in the UK.
Usually dispatched within 9 to 12 days.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The New Nature of History... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by gandjchesters
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: A near fine copy. Palgrave 2001, pp.xvi,334, paperback, a near fine copy [033392262X] (080116gb).P.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The New Nature of History: Knowledge, Evidence, Language Paperback – 12 Jul 2001

Save an extra 10% with Amazon Student*

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£19.99
£16.00 £9.99
Promotion Message Amazon Students Members Get 10% Off 1 Promotion(s)

Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more

*Save an extra 10% on this product with Amazon Student
From 28 June, 2016, Amazon Student members will receive an extra 10% off 1000s of selected books. The Offer will be automatically applied to your order at checkout. This Offer ends at 23:59pm BST on 16 October, 2016. Terms & Conditions apply. Learn more
£19.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Usually dispatched within 9 to 12 days. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Amazon Students Members Get an Extra 10% Off Selected Books Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Frequently Bought Together

  • The New Nature of History: Knowledge, Evidence, Language
  • +
  • History in Practice 2nd Edition (Hodder Arnold Publication)
  • +
  • In Defence of History
Total price: £47.96
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (12 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033392262X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333922620
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'...passionate rebuttal of postmodernist criticisms of the mainstream positivist movement in hisorical science...' - International Review of Social History

About the Author

ARTHUR MARWICK is Professor of History at the Open University. His many books include British Society since 1945 (3rd edition 1996), The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France Italy and the United States, c.1958-c.1974 (1998) and A History of the Modern British Isles, 1914-1999: Circumstances, Events, Outcomes (2000).


Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
1
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This has to be the ultimate curate's egg of a book -- it is good in parts, but so bad in others. Marwick rests on his laurels as soon-to-be-former Professor of History at the Open University to deliver swingeing sideswipes at every aspect of the profession that he chooses to disagree with, wrapping all this up in the aura of his supposed wisdom and impartiality, lavishing praise on what he considers to be the properly historical parts of, for example, Marxists' work, while condemning their whole theoretical basis out of hand. He also creates a huge catch-all category of 'postmodernists' [which seems at points to include Marxists such as Althusser], whose alleged views and unhistorical methods he persists in deriding throughout the book.
There is a great deal of sensible, basic advice for the beginning historian here, but it is interspersed with a constant flow of comment which is either flippant and offhand, smug and sanctimonious, or bordering on the libellous. Marwick snipes at the idea of the historian as 'auteur' who can say what s/he pleases without regard to the wider profession, but in this book, that is exactly what he has done.
Comment 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A labor of love by a loyal practitioner of history 28 Oct. 2006
By Ronald Angelo Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Arthur Marwick sat down to draft The New Nature of History he likely thought back to a time three decades earlier, when he penned The Nature of History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1971) to confront the "historical relativists," with their "varieties of history, embodying the notion that all great historians are essentially equal, though they may find it impossible to agree upon any one interpretation of the nature of history." (p. 22) In that earlier work, Marwick cautioned that "to stress the variousness of history is to turn one's face in the wrong direction." (p. 23) The aim of The New Nature of History is to shift historians' faces in the right direction, to secure the place of history against the assault of the discipline's post-modern critics. He argues that history, unlike literature, is dependent upon previous bodies of knowledge, primary sources, and precise writing, maintained by professional standards. As such, the book's subtitle "Knowledge, Evidence, Language" serves poignantly a three-word thesis statement.

Knowledge is essential to Marwick's view of history. He offers a definition of history as "bodies of knowledge about the past and all that is involved in producing this knowledge, communicating it, and teaching about it." (p. 269) Accordingly, "what historians do is produce knowledge about the past." (p. xiii) Marwick sets forth a distinction between the past, "what actually happened in the (human) past (whether or not historians have written about it)", and history, "the accounts of the past provided by historians." (p. 25) Marwick views the search for universal meaning or universal explanations as futile; yet, contrary to post-modernist assertions, historians do not construct history. "History is about finding things out, and solving problems, rather than spinning narratives or telling stories." (p. 28) For Marwick, "a reasonable degree of objectivity" in history is achievable when historians adhere to the precedence of accumulated bodies of historians' work and respect the peer-reviewer system of professional scrutiny. (p. 45, 48) Marwick's conclusion places a great deal of faith in his fellow historians' observance of methods and principles that "govern" professional history.

Marwick also shows much deference to the evidence upon which historians base their knowledge. In particular, he views primary sources as the bedrock of historical knowledge. "The only way we can have knowledge of the past is through studying the relics and traces left by past societies. (p. 26) Secondary sources are necessary to commence research. However, "primary sources...form the basic `raw material' of history." (p.26) He emphasizes that archival work with primary sources, while essential to the historian's trade, can be arduous and boring. According to Marwick, historians do not search the archives for facts, but for "material conditions, and changes in them; states of mind; the working of institutions; motivations, mentalities, values; the balance between intention and accomplishment." (p. 153) Yet, the sources do not speak for themselves. Historians analyze and corroborate source material. They employ technical skills to garner indirect knowledge through inference and to refine nuances within texts. Moreover, ready access to primary sources, such as those in the French archives or the new archeological sites in the Mediterranean, opens up new avenues for historical study.

After the historians labor in the archives, the task of communicating the knowledge of the past presents itself. Marwick expends much energy discussing the need for historians to write precisely and explicitly. He agrees with the post-modernists on the importance of language to the discipline's proficiency. He rejects, however, their proposition that the historians' narratives do not significantly differ from those of novelists. Marwick contends that history and literature, as disciplines, use language differently. An important distinction is that "all history should be written clearly and unambiguously." (p. 195) For him, it is possible to write history that communicates narrative, description, and analysis. Emphasizing the importance of an adequate structure for writing, Marwick says "structure is devised, and revised, by the historian in order to produce an account,...which best conveys to the reader what actually was happening, what interactions there were, what changed, and what did not, as perceived by the historian. This is no the way novelists work." (p. 263)

The New Nature of History acts not only as an obvious-lover-of-history's overtly retaliatory strike on the discipline's post-modern critics, but also as a labor of love by a loyal practitioner dedicated to the relevance and credibility of his profession. Marwick's writing throughout the book displays a pained quality, as if the critics have affronted him personally as a historian. The impetus for the book is his understanding that post-modernism is not a scholarly discipline, but a belief system--one that has no business criticizing the historical profession. He wants to set the record straight: history is not in a state of crisis. History, like science, evolves from evidence and remains "of central importance to society." (p. 268) In addition to fending off the post-modernists, The New Nature of History, with its instructive chapters on sources and writing, can serve as a professional reference to would-be historians of any philosophical persuasion. Moreover, the lucidity and vigor with which Arthur Marwick argues his case can encourage graduate students that "historical study, conducted in accordance with the precepts set out in it, is important, as well as interesting and, sometimes, exciting." (p. 19) Even when one has done it for as long has Marwick has.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The New Nature of History 7 Mar. 2014
By Zachary W. Schulz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arthur Marwick in The New Nature of History: Knowledge, Evidence, Language argues “history must be a scholarly discipline, based on thorough analysis of the evidence and in the writing up of which language is deployed with upmost precision.” (p. 273) He posits that professional historians utilize sources to remain objective and unbiased when “producing knowledge about the past.” (p. xiii) Additionally, he holds that explicit language is necessary to the presentation of history to the professional community and intended audience. Finally, Marwick maintains “history is a necessity” which allows societies to understand contemporary problems and dispel harmful prejudices. (p. 31)

According to Marwick, professional history is based on extensive analysis of evidence provided in primary and secondary sources. In this regard history is much like science, acquiring knowledge about the past, instead of the natural world, through collaborative efforts. Subsequently he writes, “Historians do not rely on single sources, but are always seeking corroboration, qualification, [and] correction” when engaging in the creation of history. (p. 27) Further, throughout the process, “historians take ‘history’ as a set of procedures for finding out about the past.” (p. 10) Thus, Marwick maintains through empirical study and collaboration, a historian seeks to create knowledge of the past and dispel any preconceived biases in himself or his intended audience. While interpretations of events differ between individual historians, Marwick argues professional historians support their individualized conclusions through citation of sources to show “how they developed their train of reasoning.” (p. 40) Therefore, as critics denounce professional history for practicing ‘fetishism of documents,’ historians actually are basing conclusions in sound strategy and evidential research. With extensive footnotes and multitudes of sources, a professional historian invites participation and criticism in his production of history.

Supporting this collaborative effort is the presentation of conclusions in precise language. As Marwick holds professional history is an objective-based field, an explicit discourse facilitates corroboration and prevents misunderstandings. Language is the means to share interpretations of history, “to separate out unambiguously what is securely established from what is basically speculation.” (p. 215) Thus, Marwick argues that precision is necessary to support scientific-like approaches to history while avoiding the frivolous adornments of literature or art. Additionally, he advocates the dispelling of biased interpretations of the past through explicit diction. Marwick writes “by the very nature of what they study, [historians are] particularly well qualified to understand the influences [of bias] operating on them, and, therefore, to escape from them” by formulating their work with a base on evidence and unadorned, specific language. (p. 46) Without clarity in communications, the conclusions of a historian serve no purpose to his intended audience. A concise approach prevents ambiguity and encourages impartial dissemination of history.

To that end, Marwick asserts that history helps cultures relate to one another and understand contemporary problems/conflicts. “As memory is to the individual,” he writes, “so history is to the community or society.” (p. 46) A society without memory cannot function or formulate an identity with which to interact with others and address standing concerns. In addition, beyond forming a functional identity, history also empowers societies and individuals through the “diffusion of knowledge.” (p. 2) This empowerment, Marwick argues, dispels powerful societal myths which encourage grave misunderstandings. For example, history taught to an interwar Germany during the 1930s propagated a mythos of Teutonic superiority which directly informed the Holocaust. Consequently, Marwick posits “as long as counties go on teaching their biased versions of history… accurate, professional history is a necessity if tensions and suspicions are ever to be removed.” (p. 35)

In The New Nature of History Marwick successfully defends his argument for the propagation of objective history. His assertions that history should strive to be scientific and precise, support his conclusion that history is essential to dispelling conflicts\biases in societies. However, while refuting the postmodernist critics of history, Marwick frequently degrades the narrative with defaming commentary. Though needing to rebuke postmodernism’s critiques, he ignores his own assertion to present an objective argument. These prodigal reproaches undermine even his most basic pronouncements on historiographical development or historical research processes. However, if one can forgo his animosity, this monograph provides a well-developed guide to approaching history as an empirical, scientific endeavor which clearly reinforces the urgency of professional history to society.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback