The Purpose of the Past

The Purpose of the Past : Reflections on the Uses of History

3.88 (243 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

An erudite scholar and an elegant writer, Gordon S. Wood has won both numerous awards and a broad readership since the 1969 publication of his widely acclaimed The Creation of the American Republic. With The Purpose of the Past, Wood has essentially created a history of American history, assessing the current state of history vis-a-vis the work of some of its most important scholars-doling out praise and scorn with equal measure. In this wise, passionate defense of history's ongoing necessity, Wood argues that we cannot make intelligent decisions about the future without understanding our past. Wood offers a master's insight into what history-at its best-can be and reflects on its evolving and essential role in our culture.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 323 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 22mm | 158.76g
  • Penguin Books
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0143115049
  • 9780143115045
  • 525,774

About Gordon S Wood

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history emeritus at Brown University. His 1969 book, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes and was nominated for the National Book Award. Wood's 1992 book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. His 2009 book, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, won the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize. In 2011, Wood was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama. He contributes regularly to the New Republic and the New York Review of Books.
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Review quote

aEssential reading for anyone who cares about history.a aJonathan Yardley, "The Washington Post" aIlluminating . . . [Woodas] pitch-perfect erudition is legendary.a aDouglas Brinkley, "Los Angeles Times"
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Table of contents

The Purpose of the PastIntroduction
1. "Influence" in History
2. Anachronism in History
3. Narrative History
4. The Lessons of History
5. Continuity in History
6. History and the New Historicism
7. History as Fiction
8. History as High Politics
9. Microhistory
10. Truth in History
11. History Versus Political Theory
12. History Without Ideas
13. History and Heritage
14. Comparative History
15. Postmodern History
16. Satirical History
17. Multicultural History
18. History and Myth
19. History as Cultural Criticism
20. Race, Class, Gender and History Writing
21. Presentism in History
Index
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Rating details

243 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 30% (73)
4 39% (95)
3 23% (55)
2 6% (15)
1 2% (5)
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