In Defence of History

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Granta Publications, Nov 1, 2012 - History - 384 pages

“A lucid, muscular, and often sly reflection” on the worth and purpose of historical scholarship by the award-winning author of The Third Reich Trilogy (Kirkus).

In this volume, the renowned historian Richard J. Evans offers a fervent and deeply insightful defense of his craft and its importance to civilization. At a time when fact and historical truth are under unprecedented assault, Evans shows us why history is necessary. Taking us into the historians’ workshop, he offers a firsthand look at how good history gets written.

In staunch opposition to the wilder claims of postmodern historians, Evans thoroughly dismantles the notion that a realistic grasp of history is impossible to attain. He then goes on to explain the deadly political dangers of losing a historical perspective on the way we live our lives. In the tradition of E.H. Carr’s What Is History? and G.R. Elton’s The Practice of History, Evans’ In Defense of History delivers “a model of lucid and intelligent historiographical analysis” (The Guardian, UK).

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User Review  - Kirkus

A lucid, muscular, and often sly reflection on the nature of historical knowledge by an experienced practicing historian. It is difficult to imagine a stronger or more convincing case than Evans's for ... Read full review

In defense of history

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Evans (history, Cambridge Univ.) defends traditional history against the onslaught of postmodernist theories, which hold that ultimate historical truth is not only unattainable but does not exist. In ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor Emeritus of History at Cambridge University, and Provost of Gresham College in the City of London. He has taught at the University of East Anglia, where he was Professor of European History, and Birkbeck, University of London, where he was Professor of History and Vice-Master. His many books include The Coming of the Third Reich (2003), The Third Reich in Power (2005) and The Third Reich at War (2008), as well as a collection of essays, The Third Reich in History and Memory (2015). His most recent books are Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History (2013) and The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 (2016). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature. His many awards and distinctions include the British Academy Leverhulme Medal and Prize, the Norton Medlicott Medal of the Historical Association, the William H. Welch Medal of the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the Medal for Arts and Sciences of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. He is a frequent contributor to radio and television programmes, including Free Thinking. His books have been awarded the Wolfson History Prize and the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History. He was knighted for services to scholarship in 2012.

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