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What is History? with a new Introduction by Richard J Evans Hardcover – 11 Jun 2002
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'E.H. Carr...now proves himself to be not only our most distinguished modern historian, but also one of the most valuable contributors to historical theory.' - Spectator
'As a lively, challenging view of the purpose of historical inquiry and the role of the historian...What is History? has yet to be bettered.' - David Horspool, Times Literary Supplement
'There is simply no point in talking about the principles and methodology of historical research without referring to E.H. Carr's seminal work.' - Elliot Jager, The Jerusalem Post
'By situating Carr's book historically so well, Evans...[has] provided the strongest argument yet for leaving What is History? on the shelf as a theory-of-history primer for undergraduates and for its alternative use as valuable primary evidence for the history of intellectual politics in mid-20th century Britain.' - Simon Ditchfield, Times Higher Education Supplement
'Carr's What is History? is still essential reading for all historians. The new edition introduced by Professor Evans, a leading historian and an accomplished historiographer, provides an excellent insight into Carr's life and work.' - Jonathan Haslam, author of The Vices of Integrity: E. H. Carr (1892-1982)
'E. H. Carr…proves himself to be not only our most distinguished modern historian, but also one of the most valuable contributors to historical theory.' - The Spectator
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'As a lively, challenging view of the purpose of historical inquiry nad the role of the historian ... What is History? has yet to be bettered'- TLSSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Essentially, Carr's approach is to look at the way the historian's own bias affects the history he writes. Instead of viewing the historian as an impartial agency situated outside of history, Carr argues that the historian is part of the historical process. What the historian thinks is as important as what happened in history, and each interacts with the other, so that the historian's own social and political perspective will influence both the facts he selects as historically significant and how those facts are interpreted. As perspective is critical, history becomes not merely a dry chronicle of 'what happened', but a vision of the future projected into the past. The main criticism of this approach seems to be that it prioritises the historian over history. This criticism finds populist expression in the idea that children should study history by learning facts rather than skills. The first (traditionalist) approach emphasises content. The second (modern) approach emphasises the historian.
Having read the book for myself, I find this criticism to be very unfair, reflecting a misunderstanding of Carr's ideas.Read more ›
This book is a fascinating account of historical arguments through time, and is really useful if, like me, you are studying for a History degree at University!!!
Carr begins his answer to 'what is history?' by articulating what he thinks history is, but not from a negative position. He argues that the role of the historian in fetishing the facts and thus their ability to shape history is extraordinarily underestimated. He believes this came about for three reasons. Firstly, Ranke's view that it was the role of the historian to shake off their partisan views; secondly, the overstated emphasis on induction methods, of first, find the facts then draw conclusions from them, and third a dominant empirical culture. The latter having strong foundations among English historians. When the three elements are combined together they form what Carr constitutes the commonsense view of history.
For Carr the empirical theory of knowledge is taken as a precondition for the severance of subject and object. Thus, impressions drawn from conclusions are independent of the processes, and for him this is a passive model, in that the data is received and it is then acted upon. Hence commonsense history, just as night follows day. To put it simply, history is just a collection of a body of material from which you ascertain the facts. A view that he rejects.
Carr rejects the above view in favour of this own way of researching history.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very informative book. E.H. Carr provides a great introduction to history and delves deeper into how history is perceived. An absolute must for any history undergraduate.Published 8 months ago by Roy Andrew Dolman
At university, I had a compulsory module on Historical theory and I didn't do very well in that course (In fact, I failed it miserably). Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eve
E. H. Carr wrote a really eye-opening guide to finding your way around the philosophy of history. I think many of his arguments are flawed, but it doesn't matter - I've read few... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Haraldo Wenceslas
Had to buy this for university. Very quick delivery and highly interesting.Published 24 months ago by Poppy Miller-Teece
This book provides a conceptual framework as to how one should study history. It is essential reading for a person begining to study this subject.Published on 12 Dec. 2013 by Alan Arthur
Bought for my daughter who is studying History at university. She has found this book very useful . An excellent book! A***Published on 19 Nov. 2013 by Jones
Fantastic book from a great historian. So useful for my history degree. A must have for any wannabe historian or armchair fanPublished on 8 Nov. 2013 by Cyril Slater