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(11/10/2008) A History Of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances & Inquiries From Herodotus & Thucydides To The Twentieth Century by John Burrow. New York. 2008. Knopf. keywords: History Historiography. 521 pages. Jacket design by Jason Booher. 9780375413117. April 2008.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This unprecedented book by one of Britain's most admired historians describes the intellectual impact that the study and consideration of history has had in the Western world over the past 2,500 years. Treating the practice of history not as an isolated pursuit but as an aspect of human society and an essential part of the culture of Europe and America, John Burrow magnificently brings to life and explains the distinctive qualities found in the work of historians from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to the present, including Livy, Tacitus, Bede, Froissart, Clarendon, Gibbon, Macaulay, Michelet, Prescott and Parkman. The author sets out not to give us the history of academic discipline but a history of choices: the choice of pasts and the ways they have been demarcated, investigated, presented and even sometimes learned from as they have changed according to political, religious, cultural, and partisan and patriotic circumstances. Burrow aims, as well, to change our perceptions of the crucial turning points in the history of history, allowing the ideas that historians have had about both their own times and their founding civilizations to emerge with unexpected freshness. Burrow argues that looking at the history of history is one of the most interesting ways we have to understand the past. Certainly, this volume stands alone in its ambition, scale and fascination.

JOHN BURROW was Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex before becoming Professor of European Thought at Oxford. His earlier books include EVOLUTION AND SOCIETY: A STUDY IN VICTORIAN SOCIAL THEORY; A LIBERAL DESCENT: VICTORIAN HISTORIANS AND THE ENGLISH PAST, which won the Wolfson Prize for History; Gibbon; and THE CRISIS OF REASON: EUROPEAN THOUGHT, 1848-1914. He is a Fellow of the British Academy; an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford; and in 2008 will be Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College in Massachusetts.

 

 

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