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The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory Paperback – March 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0814731277 ISBN-10: 0814731279
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anna Green is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.



Kathleen Troup is Lecturer in History at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: New York University Press (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814731279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814731277
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book very helpful in understanding the methodologies behind the different "houses" of historiography. As the first reviewer stated, it can sometimes be tedious, but if you need to know this stuff, this is a relatively painless way to go about doing it. Finally, I would just like to pose a question: why would anyone trust a review by a college student who cannot correctly spell "nonsense"?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kate Skipton on July 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Great book. Before I read it, I had been confused by the various historiographical 'houses.' Now I know what's what. Anyone who's doing a historiography course at university should read this book because it (a) explains most things well and (b) makes it clear that there is a lot of conscious consideration behind how historians approach the past, which I think anyone who plans to study the past for a living needs to know. Jay's negative review shows he isn't willing to engage in a sophisticated analysis of the historian's influence on history.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Read, Play, Watch on January 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reason I recommend this book above any others on historigraphy, is that the chapters are succinct and virtually absent of pretentious academic-speak. In addition, each "house" of history comes with an example of the theory or methodology being discussed, which is useful for those of us who need "illustrations." While this work is extremely useful while taking an oft-painful historiography course, it is also a terrific handbook for developing the historiography section of a long research paper, thesis, or dissertation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stephenson III on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a historical book, and I think the negative reviews are the result of people trying to read it as such. It is instead an instructional book, which intends to teach the reader about the different methods (houses) of history.

Anyone engaged in a serious study of history needs to understand how to read a historical work in two ways. First, you must read in order to acquire the information that the book is presenting, obviously. Second, a reader must analyze how the information is being presented. This includes the analysis of the logical arguments being used, the work being cited as evidence of that argument, and determining the author's bias. (Every author has one, even "objective" authors) Even the decision of what information to include in a historical work is evidence of the author's bias. The failure to take this into account will inevitably mean the failure to fully understand the work you are reading. The various arguments, pieces of evidence, and personal dispositions of the authors who write about a particular subject comprise different methods of historical scholarship, and they will vary from author to author. In other words, the "historiography" of a subject will contain a variety of methods, which this book calls the "houses of history"

The intent of this book is to explain these methods, and then provide examples of each. Toward this purpose, the book excels. Acquiring the skill to analyze the historiography of a work is an indispensable skill for the serious student of history.

Again this is not a history book. For example, the excerpt presented in the book by E.P Thompson is not necessarily intended to teach the reader about the English working class, but is instead intended to present an example of the Marxist method of history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. Karnavas on January 22, 2007
Format: Perfect Paperback
I read this book for a methods course as well as some of the other reviewers. The format of the book is useful since it provides a synopsis of the selected perspectives as well as a reading that provides an example of the method/interpretation in action. While it is not always entertaining, it is not designed to be; it is a critical reader designed to promote critical discussion. I completed an annotated bibliography of the work (since Troup references many scholars and their works) and found this very useful so that I could read the better known examples that Troup discusses in each section. This book is a good spring board to further studies in the historian's journey to becoming thinking historian who is sensitive to the relationship between worldview, interpretation and methods in the historian's research.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vilma Pizarro on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Houses of History is a very complete book for those who are enthralled by history. Preferably, for those who like to understand first the big picture concerning our changing times. This unique book takes you throughout the stages of history during the twentieth century and better yet, through the different trends that those who record history have faced from the modern to the post modern times.It also includes interesting excerpts for each particular history theory. This product must be read by anyone who wants to understand nowadays' social, cultural and political movements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen P. Rhodes on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Historiography (writings about the writing of history) is a rather arcane topic, generally of interest only to historians. Even history students roll their eyes at the thought of historiography, but the consideration of the approach to use in writing the history of an event or person is important. Knowing how others have approached their subjects is also important. This review, then, is aimed at history students.

The Houses of History gives a good overview, with an example reading, for each of several main historical approaches, including Annales, social history, empiricism, psychohistory (yes, Isaac Asimov fans, we really use this term, but not quite in the way Hari Seldon did. Asimov merely extrapolated from a real school of history).

When students take their required course in historiography or theory of history, they may very well find this a required text. I did.

In its clarity and its approach, this is one of the better overviews of historical theory.
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