Historiography

Practicing History: Selected Essays - download pdf or read online

By Barbara W. Tuchman

ISBN-10: 0345303636

ISBN-13: 9780345303639

Assessment "Persuades and Enthralls...I can consider no larger primer for the nonexpert who needs to profit history." -- Chicago Sun-Times "Provocative, constant, and fantastically Readable, an occasion to not be overlooked by way of background buffs." -- The Baltimore sunlight From the interior Flap From considerate items at the historian's function to impressive insights into America's prior and current to trenchant observations at the overseas scene, Barbara W. Tuchman seems to be at heritage in a different manner and attracts classes from what she sees. here's a most excellent physique of labor, the tale of a life-time spent "practicing history."

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It will suddenly appear and tap one on the shoulder, but not if one chases after it first, before one knows what happened. Then it will elude one forever. If the historian will submit himself to his material instead of trying to impose himself on his material, then the material will ultimately speak to him and supply the answers. It has happened to me more than once. In somebody’s memoirs I found that the Grand Duke Nicholas wept when he was named Russian Commander-in-Chief in 1914, because, said the memoirist, he felt inadequate for the job.

Eventually, as the cards fall into groups according to subject or person or chronological sequence, the pattern of my story will emerge. Besides, they are convenient, as they can be filed in a shoebox and carried around in a pocketbook. When ready to write I need only take along a packet of them, representing a chapter, and I am equipped to work anywhere; whereas if one writes surrounded by a pile of books, one is tied to a single place, and furthermore likely to be too much influenced by other authors.

The contemporary has no perspective; everything is in the foreground and appears the same size. Little matters loom big, and great matters are sometimes missed because their outlines cannot be seen. Vietnam and Panama are given four-column headlines today, but the historian fifty or a hundred years hence will put them in a chapter under a general heading we have not yet thought of. The contemporary, especially if he is a participant, is inside his events, which is not an entirely unmixed advantage.

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Practicing History: Selected Essays by Barbara W. Tuchman


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