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Practicing History: Selected Essays Paperback – August 12, 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0345303639 ISBN-10: 0345303636

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Practicing History: Selected Essays + The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam + The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (August 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345303636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345303639
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Persuades and enthralls . . . I can think of no better primer for the nonexpert who wishes to learn history.”Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Provocative, consistent, and beautifully readable, an event not to be missed by history buffs.”—Baltimore Sun
 
“A delight to read.”—The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

From thoughtful pieces on the historian's role to striking insights into America's past and present to trenchant observations on the international scene, Barbara W. Tuchman looks at history in a unique way and draws lessons from what she sees. Here is a splendid body of work, the story of a lifetime spent "practicing history."

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By John P. Rooney on September 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Practicing History", by Barbara W. Tuchman, sub-titled "Selected Essays". Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1981.
This book is a collection of essays written by the noted Historian, Barbara W. Tuchman (e.g. "The Guns of August"), over the course of her long career. In my humble opinion, for the novice historian, the most interesting essays are, "The Historian as Artist" (pages 45-50), "The Historian's Opportunity", (pages 51-64). In these two essays, Ms. Tuchman challenges the budding historian to not only collect facts, dates and events, but rather to write History so the end product is as engaging as modern novel, BUT, based upon excellent scholarship. Ms. Tuchman is a proponent of "narrative" History, where the facts "...require arrangement, composition planning just like a painting - Rembrandt's 'Night Watch`" (page 49). These two essays would enhance any course in Historiography.
Some of her remaining essays are a bit dated, but provide keen insight into the times, as in Tuchman's "Japan: A Clinical Note", (pages 93-97). Her essays on Israel tend to be a bit chauvinistic, in the sense that the author's objectivity slips and she can find very little wrong with the budding Jewish state in what was once Palestine. The essay, "Perdicaris Alive or Rasuli Dead" (pages 104-117), is very entertaining, particularly if you are interested in New York's Teddy Roosevelt. All in all, the first section of this book, (called "The Craft"), includes essays that should be required reading for a student beginning graduate work in History.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
These essays allow the reader to enjoy Barbara Tuchman's incisive historical analysis and sharp wit in small doses. Most of the essays were written in the 1950s or 1960s or even earlier, but they are still fresh and pointed. Reading Tuchman is like listening to your favorite history professor. She'll tell a dramatic story and finish up with some wry observations that will keep you thinking long after.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
Although a collection of essays the coherence of her work is commendable.No one can read history in the same light after reading her book.Ms.Tuchman is truly a master who weaves a web around her readers. The canvas of her book is stupendous and her grasp is awesome covering ancient Greece to modern times. Truly remarkable. (Naushad Shafkat)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David E. Thomas on April 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This should be compulsory reading for everybody in positions of power and influence. The essays may have passed into history, but their verities remain. The anguish caused by political and commercial stupidity and its by-product of war would be lessened if power brokers learnt from history. War is folly, as this great historian wrote many years ago. Will people ever learn? I cannot use the word 'humanity' when I think of what we do to others.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. E Sheller on August 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love the feeling that I'm picking the brain of BWT. Her methods of writing and observations are worthwhile for a lifetime. The humility the author has toward fact gathering benefits all her readers. This collection is first a delight to any fan of the woman herself, and second a tool for learning about good history writing. A bonus third point is for history novices like me- a crash course on several topics of interest. A "crash course" from Barbara Tuchman is possibly an experience of the most concise, informative and comprehensive summary on a subject you'll find.
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