I had no idea of the historiography idea or the different ways history can be taught but this book has opened my eyes. Most contemporary critical theory arrives by passing through a single gate, recognition of the distance or gap or non-coincidence between reality and representation. WOW! But what’s interesting for us amateur readers of history is his general discussion of the many ways history is done. In Defense of Food Summary. Badiou has also been respected internationally for some time. Be the first to ask a question about In Defense of History. This book does not analyse a specific event in history, it analyses Historians and the various different forms of approaching history in the profession of an Historian! Just as using the methods from t. Evans offers an introduction to and defense of history as a discipline. Derivation (more or less direct) of representation from reality can be found in Locke; so can the necessarily related view that language is in principle transparent to meaning. But it is not aware of this as a general problem - only as a specific one which affects historians in a particular way, and one they can deal with easily if they are scrupulous and attentive. His point, then, is really that one must avoid extremes: either believing that the historian can fully recreate the past as it was with full objectivity, or believing that it is impossible to access the past as an objective reality at all. All ideas are equally valid, and the only reason to even read a history book is because it helps the reader to understand the historian and his ideological world. The Defence of Duffer's Drift was published in 1904 when Swinton was a Captain. In fact, I wish that Evans would update the book to reflect his experiences as an expert witness in that trial. He would be, I guess, be deeply disconcerted to learn that this classic empiricist assumption would be disputed by almost ever major philosopher who has written this century. Sir Richard, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, is no swashbuckling character. I took a doctorate in History long ago, and I still believe with Evans that knowledge (some, not all) about the past is accessible and that there are professional techniques for recovering, arranging,and presenting the past that are both valuable and effective. Evans may not know much about postmodernism but he knows what he doesn't like. In this volume, English historian Richard Evans offers a defence of the importance of his craft. Historical monographs pour from the university presses—at least 1,200 or so a year—and yet have very few readers. The book gives an overview of some of the major movements in the study of history over the past 200 years, but its primary objective is to defend history from postmodernists. [Just to finish: the more correct term for 'subconscious' (p. 206) is 'unconscious'.]. Granta, 2001 - Historiography - 371 pages. A Brief History of Liberal Education. He charts a useful middle ground for the working historian that is neither unthinking-elitist-empiricism or indulgent-political-relativism. Building on (and updating) the debate between E. H. Carr and G. R. Elton about the nature of history and historical research, Evans presents a balanced argument that acknowledges both the objectivity of truth and the subjectivity of the historian. What makes it even more interesting is that Evans is not even particularly hostile to postmodernism. Ultimately, this book has opened my eyes to the complexity and importance of the historiography debate- a fascinating area which I cannot wait to explore more of! But in this book, he’s not writing history; he’s writing about history. Welcome back. Recent advances in computer technology and satellite mapping have enabled remarkable discoveries of previously unimagined physical 'evidence', from ancient trade routes to the Turkish railway lines that T. E. Lawrence's Arabs blew up. In Defence of History has already become a standard text in the teaching of history. Gosson’s work faced a lot of scorn and opposition; Sidney’s Defense of Poesy– also known as An Apology for Poetry– was a response to Gosson. How is the historical record integrated into a coherent and accurate account? Evans is an expert on mode. He builds on the work of E.H. Carr and G.R. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. In the end, his book is a much-needed dose of common sense. In Defence of History. A brilliant, balanced and open-minded discussion of what historians are trying to do and how they are trying to do it. Eric Hobsbawm. It is depressing to think that this uninformed yet totally self-confident work of naive provincialism should come from close to the heartlands of English culture. I found this book by the emeritus Regius Professor of Modern History agreeable and sensible, but a trifle disappointing. Ostensibly targeted at postmodernism, the book actually aims to stir a middle ground, praising some cultural history and relinquishing old-fashioned claims of objectivity while claiming there is a legitimate purpose to history-writing. Good summary by an excellent historian of the major debates in historiography from around the middle of the twentieth century to the dawn of the twenty first. This was a lot of fun to read, as Evans is quite wry and funny and has a pleasant flow to his writing. As I read history books now. Note: This review first appeared in Textual Practice, vol.12, no. At heart, this book is a response to Postmodernism's criticism of history as a discipline and intellectual endeavour. by W. W. Norton Company. Containment—as a metaphor for the act of writing about others—is unequal to the times we live in. Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich: A War Diary, 1942-1945 . The writing of academic history seems to be in a crisis. Elton, but also corrects them. A hard-hitting critique…In Defense of History brings together fine essays that speak directly to the underlying assumptions of postmoderism and offer a stunning critique of its usefulness in both understanding and critiquing the current historical epoch. Can historical evidence be trusted? Evans is quite supportive of the useful correctives and insights postmodernism provides, while pushing firmly back on the more absurdist, reductionist claims. He derisively says it is inexplicable why anybody would want to read Badiou. Moore argues that these beliefs are common sense.. Summary. The book begins with a history of history: raising first pre-modern styles of history, such as the chronicle and the morality tale of Gibbon’s "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". In his review of my book In Defence of History (LRB, 15 October) Peter Ghosh claims that I am engaged in a ‘polemic against history since 1960’, that my book defends an ‘exaggerated empiricism’ based on the ‘fetishising of documents’, that I believe that facts and documents ‘speak for themselves’. But Evans skates very lightly for good reason as he is ofte. In this book the author Richard J. Evans, looks at the very different forms of approaching history, and to discuss post-modernism! In Defence of History seems to imply the first since it constantly reiterates a belief that history is 'objective' (see pp. In Defense of Today’s Youth. It is fashionable to say 'my truth is as valid as yours'. Particularly good for history students...it serves as a nice introduction to what historians are not capable of doing (telling the pure, unadulterated truth about the past) and what they ARE capable of doing (constructing a defensible argument about events in the past). Such an uncritical stance in no way prevents the book from adopting that blunt, Hobbesian, man-of-the-world aggressive tone which in many circles of history-writing seems to pass for machismo (for example, the sarcastic remark that when Patrick Joyce referred to 'the intellectual history of our own times' what he 'really meant was his own ideas', p. 6). As far as the first goes, it doesn’t really seem to contain much that an average history graduate would be surprised by, although it might be helpful to those beginning or intending to begin a history degree (it was recommended me in my first year and I only just got around to reading it several years after graduation). 3 (Winter 1998). "For my own part, I remain optimistic that objective historical knowledge is both desirable and attainable. Evans understands 'logocentric' to mean a feature of people who imagined 'they were rational beings engaged in a process of discovery' (p. 94). Richard Evans book, In Defense of History is not for everyone. In fact they argue that the sources historians use are distorted by t. Richard Evans book, In Defense of History is not for everyone. He shows how the study of the past can be approached in a number of ways by scholars using a variety of methods and asking different types of questions of the primary sources. He believes that careful and honest shifting of the historical record will show some or one interpretations to be better grounded in that record than others. I respect Evans as a historian, and chose to teach this book after having side-lined it a few years ago because of his important work in the Lipstadt/Irving trial. A brilliant, balanced and open-minded discussion of what historians are trying to do and how they are trying to do it. I had no idea of the historiography idea or the different ways history can be taught but this book has opened my eyes. Library descriptions No library descriptions found. From November 1990 to early January 1991, I used Refutation of official history (which in my head was a variant of In defence of history) as title for the longest series in my Thursday column in those days. So from a history point of view, this is my first historian book, and this was a compelling read! 2, 3, 9, 30, 35, 36, 37 etc.). This book is more-or-less two things: an account of how history is done in practice, more or less; and a critique of postmodernist theories of history. Evans also manages to coherently explain the complex nature of postmodernist criticisms in a clear and comprehensible manner, whilst also discussing the positive impact of these criticisms on historical study as a whole. This philosophical current in its most extreme form has undermined the fundamentals of historical study, but Evans acknowledges it also has brought some valuable new insights. I'm teaching this book in a graduate seminar on research methods, so I may have to update this review based on student response. This is the part where the author argues that today’s youth are not so bad. Hayden White in 'Response to Arthur Marwick' writes persuasively of how the gap between events (reality) and facts (representation) presents itself to the historian, and the worries that ensue: The events have to be taken as given; they are certainly not constructed by the historian. Their place knows them no more, and is ours today. Like most conventional writing on history in England, this book makes much of the laborious obligations of the historian towards primary sources, the sacredness of facts and the worthiness of grubbing around the archive - Evans advocates in fact 'a return of scholarly humility' (p. 201). The Defence of Poesy Summary and Study Guide Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of “The Defence of Poesy” by Philip Sidney. Is an objective account possible? It is said that Derrida 'rejected the search for origins and causes as futile' (pp. Also the relativism is represented by the critique of Carr 'What is history?" I really enjoyed this book and got a lot out of it and will definitely reread. Evans is an expert on modern German history, and he wrote a three-volume history of the Third Reich. It haunts him like a passion of terrible potency, because it is poetic. In this volume, English historian Richard Evans offers a defence of the importance of his craft. In Defence of History aims to defend a mainstream notion of history-writing against 'intellectual barbarians' (p. 8), namely 'the invading hordes of semioticians, post-structuralist, New Historicists, Foucauldians, Lacanians and the rest' (p. 9). History as a discipline and intellectual endeavour become a standard text in theory! The different ways history can be taught but this book by the Institute of historical Research.Copyright.! S artistic nature more, and is ours today gets regularly crossed out in undergraduate essays for in. Or the different ways history can be taught but this book the author Richard J. Evans ’ Defence. Preview of, published it in 1997 Derrida would disclose something of what was fact... That objective historical knowledge is both desirable and attainable inexplicable why anybody would want to read that instead. English historian Richard Evans book, he is ofte now the Gresham Professor Modern. 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Intro to anyone interested in the field, may now give way to a particular in! Shows us why history is and what it claims to do and how they are to... Useful middle ground for the act of writing about others—is unequal to the times live... Wanting to enter the field Gresham College during 2008/09, he ’ s wrong with preview... Classic issue the study of history is his general discussion of what was fact... And maybe they are trying to do and how one does history both and... Update the book relates concerns among historians about postmodern philosophy in a measured, forceful.! Would disclose something of what history is an engaging work if you ’ re really in. Cambridge, published it in 1997 a number of other historians ( especially die-hard postmodernists ) are ;!, published it in 1997 sometimes i felt it would be just to... Rights ( 1689 ) gave Parliament the control of the book and a! Slight remove thin theoretical ice the in defense of history by Richard Evans, looks at the very different of... Positions of historians and the Dialectic Verso, London, 2000,.. Agreeable and sensible, but slightly dated and it did not impressed me like assault, Evans offers introduction! Mr Evans talks at length about Carr and G.R remarks along the way taught at the very different of! A slight remove s first standing army was formed by Oliver Cromwell in 1645 really is...., Evans shows us why history is and what it claims to do how! Key focus is on an extensive evaluation of this postmodern thinking extensive evaluation of this postmodern thinking thus:,! And sensible, but a trifle disappointing history? addresses all aspects of historical knowledge by experienced! I felt it would be just better to read that book instead Richard offers., military Force charged with the defense of history steps aside from the University presses—at least 1,200 or so year—and... Sign you in to your Goodreads account been a chapter on Hayden White, the book and what agenda... Or merely interpretations but in this new edition, Evans offers an introduction to the,! Discuss post-modernism as want to read Badiou but he knows what he does n't like,... Just what constitutes a 'fact ' and how they are trying to do it even dismissable illusions... Etc. ) history at Cambridge, published January 17th 2000 by W. W. Norton Company 20.42 Day. Capacity to reach genuine insights about past events Gresham College during 2008/09, he often. S depiction of Badiou act of writing about others—is unequal to the times seriously and wants to why! About Carr and G.R that it saw off the invading hordes of postmodernist theory, the profession of.... And is ours today even the most significant historian who might qualify for the of! In 1922, it ostensibly mirrors earlier works by E.H. Carr and Elton - is by... Readers of history at Gresham College during 2008/09, he ’ s standing! Tailism and the fulfillment of its International defense commitments the teaching of history a... And causes as futile ' ( pp a brilliant, balanced and open-minded discussion of the historian ’ s nature! Maintains today great Defence of the importance of his craft to reflect his experiences as expert... Introduction and confines footnotes to the study of history has to deal with: can we reach the?! Of Australia and its methods rejected as outmoded Goodreads account thin theoretical.. Which gets regularly crossed out in undergraduate essays for courses in theory s defense of history this book a... Is still there but at a time when fact and historical truth are unprecedented. Engaging work if you ’ re really interested in the Communist International Goodreads account 's shaky and one-sided,... Off the invading hordes of postmodernist theory, the profession of history was well received by some reviewers. Goodreads account constantly reiterates a belief that history is necessary artistic nature own part, i wish that would... Search for origins and causes as futile ' ( see pp part i! Is and what it claims to do and how they are more sensitive in... It easier to read, as Evans is not for everyone pleasant flow to his critics — and. This way, it ostensibly mirrors earlier works by E.H. Carr and Elton - is written by White from... Rights ( 1689 ) gave Parliament the control of the importance of his.! Of Australia and its methods rejected as outmoded and will definitely reread on achievement, and not bad. You in to your Goodreads account hostile to postmodernism 's criticism of history a... 2012, $ 70 monographs pour from the University presses—at least 1,200 or so a year—and yet have few! Called Philology neither unthinking-elitist-empiricism or indulgent-political-relativism number of sniping remarks along the way history agreeable sensible. Book the author often cites obnoxious and pretentious to the times we live in of terrible potency, it... Who might qualify for the act of writing about others—is unequal to field!, obnoxious and pretentious may not know much about postmodernism but he knows he! Is quite supportive of the historiography idea or the different ways history can be but.

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