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An Intelligent Person's Guide to History Hardcover – March 29, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"'a clever, wilful, self-consciously quirky little book' - Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph; 'The sheer effrontery of the tone gives the book a clear edge over much of the competition...' - Michael Bentley, TLS; 'A good book to give anyone thinking of reading history, or fed up with the way it is studied or written' - The Spectator" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Vincent has been Professor of History at the University of Bristol since 1970. Among his many influential publications are The Foundation of the Liberal Party (1966), Gladstone and Ireland (1979) and a masterly short biography of Disraeli (1990). He is also widely known as a journalist and controversialist.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715633708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715633700
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,139,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
One of the better "introductions" to history and its ugly step-sister: historiography. I put "introduction" in quotes because Vincent assumes that you already have a good background in the history of history. He drops names as if he were trying to impress a girl (Clio?) on a date. The difference between Vincent and others is that he writes well and is quite funny, to the point of political incorrectness. He slays historical dragons to the political left and right. Bias? Other historiographers talk about it, try to show you how to work around it, Vincent revels in it, lauds it. Kings and Battles? Oft-degraded, Vincent shows it is no different from any other type of history - it's all a construct (and biased). Like the postmodernists, but without all the hand-wringing and anti-capitalististic, anti-Western Civilizationism, he notes that historians are a product of their environment. Why do historians lean left? They are beholden to the quasi-socialist State. That's one explanation, I think there are a few more, but I hadn't thought about it in the particular fashion he lays out, however.

I heartily recommend this slim volume for the committed historian (there's a pun in there).
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