That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 30, 1988 - History - 648 pages
The aspiration to relate the past "as it really happened" has been the central goal of American professional historians since the late nineteenth century. In this remarkable history of the profession, Peter Novick shows how the idea and ideal of objectivity was elaborated, challenged, modified, and defended over the past century. Drawing on the unpublished correspondence as well as the published writing of hundreds of American historians, this book is a richly textured account of what American historians have thought they were doing, or ought to be doing, when they wrote history--how their principles influenced their practice and practical exigencies influenced their principles. Published with the support of the Exxon Education Foundation.

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User Review  - cpg - LibraryThing

Enjoyed by this layman In this book, Novick says that he finds the idea of historical objectivity "essentially confused", that many of the philosophical assumptions behind it are "logically and ... Read full review

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User Review  - JFBallenger - LibraryThing

Thick enough to stun an ox, it is hard to imagine someone picking this up outside of an academic context. (I read it in a graduate historiography seminar.) But it is a masterful exploration of one of the central problems of historical writing. Read full review

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About the author (1988)

Peter Novick is professor emeritus of history at the University of Chicago. He is the author of "The Resistance Versus Vichy" & "That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' & the American Historical Profession.

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