Dead Certainties: Unwarranted Speculations

Dead Certainties: Unwarranted Speculations

Paperback Unwarranted Speculations

By (author) Simon Schama

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  • Publisher: Vintage Books
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 196mm x 18mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 2 June 1992
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0679736131
  • ISBN 13: 9780679736134
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 423,958

Product description

History as inquest. Schama reconstructs- and at time reinvents- the death of General James Wolfe in 1759 at the battle of Quebec and the 1849 murder of George Parkman, whose nephew would become Wolfe's greatest biographer.

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Author information

Simon Schama is the prize-winning author of seven acclaimed books. An art critic and essayist for "The New Yorker," he also writes and presents documentaries for BBC television. He is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and lives outside New York City.

Review quote

"An infinitely beguiling book...a mind-teasing delight...Schama brings to bear an immense array of narrative elements." -- The New York Times Book Review "Intriguing and provocative... Dead Certainties inspires us throughout to examine our own assumptions about history and fiction"-- Newsday "A virtuoso performance... in Schama's hands the past loses its remoteness and takes on the noise and clutter of experience....He has become one of the few contemporary historians who are read as much for themselves as for their subjects." -- Andrew Delbanco, New Republic

Flap copy

Like his The Embarrassment of Riches and the bestselling Citizens, Simon Schama's latest book is both history and literature of immense stylishness and ambition. But Dead Certainties goes beyond these more conventional histories to address the deeper enigmas that confront a student of the past. In order to do so, Schama reconstructs -- and at times reinvents -- two ambiguous deaths: the first, that of General James Wolfe at the battle of Quebec in 1759; the second, in 1849, that of George Parkman, an eccentric Boston brahmin whose murder by an impecunious Harvard professor in 1849 was a grisly reproach to the moral sanctity of his society. Out of these stories -- with all of their bizarre coincidences and contradictions -- Schama creates a dazzling and supremely vital work of historical imagination.