Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History

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Beacon Press, 1995 - History - 191 pages
14 Reviews
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Silencing the Past is a thought-provoking analysis of historical narrative. Taking examples ranging from the Haitian Revolution to Columbus Day, Michel-Rolph Trouillot demonstrates how power operates, often invisibly, at all stages in the making of history to silence certain voices.

"Makes the postmodernist debate come alive."

"Trouillot, a widely respected scholar of Haitian history . . . is a first-rate scholar with provocative ideas . . . Serious students of history should find his work a feast for the mind."

--Jay Freedman, Booklist
"Elegantly written and richly allusive, . . . Silencing the Past is an important contribution to the anthropology of history. Its most lasting impression is made perhaps by Trouillot's own voice--endlessly agile, sometimes cuttingly funny, but always evocative in a direct and powerful, almost poetic way."

--Donald L. Donham, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"A sparkling interrogation of the past. . . . A beautifully written, superior book."

--Foreign Affairs
"Silencing the Past is a polished personal essay on the meanings of history. . . . [It] is filled with wisdom and humanity."

--Bernard Mergen, American Studies International
"An eloquent book."

"Written with clarity, wit, and style throughout, this book is for everyone interested in historical culture."

"A beautifully written book, exciting in its challenges."

--Eric R. Wolf
"Aphoristic and witty, . . . a hard-nosed look at the soft edges of public discourse about the past."

--Arjun Appadurai

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Beartracker - LibraryThing

History may be written by the winners, but it is also written by those in power. Often, they are one and the same. So, who is to say what becomes “history” and what does not? Who controls what is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dangnad - LibraryThing

This book starts out with an interesting notion: There are two aspects of history (1) the sociohistorical process, that is, "what happened" and (2) the historical narrative, that is, "that which is ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Power in the Story
The Three Faces of Sans Souci
An Unthinkable History
Good Day Columbus
The Presence in the Past

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About the author (1995)

Michel-Rolph Trouillot, one of the most prominent Haitian scholars in the United States, is director of the Institute for Global Studies in culture, Power, and History and Krieger/Eisenhower Distinguished Professor in anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.

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