Two classics of historiography, The Historian's Craft
by Marc Bloch (1953) and What Is History?
by E. H. Carr (1961), have prompted notable cold war historian Gaddis to offer his own abstract of what historians do. Does the methodology of historians captivate readers of popular history? Those sensitive to a historian's attitudes might be intrigued by this disquisition into the "ductwork" installed in every piece of historical writing. In discussing ductwork, the concepts by which a historian selects facts, comprehends time and space, and ultimately presents the past, Gaddis hews to two central tenets: that there is, somewhere, an objective truth in history, and that history is a science. Those ideas have been severely challenged, especially by social scientists enamored of quantitative methods. Gaddis dismisses quantification alone as unworkable and inappropriate and says historians must combine the techniques of many disciplines. A technical but provocative inquiry for sophisticated history readers. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Will... never allow either the reader of history or the writer of it to think about the past in quite the same way as before."--The New York Times
"A masterful statement on the historical method.... Gaddis' characterization of the social sciences will surely spark debate even as it illuminates important intellectual connections between the disciplines. Delightfully readable, the book is a grand celebration of the pursuit of knowledge."--Foreign Affairs
"A bold and challenging book, unafraid of inviting controversy. It provides a strong statement for our time of both the limits and the value of the historical enterprise."--The New York Times Book Review
"A real tour de force: a delight to read, and a light-hearted celebration of the odd, 'fractal' patterns that intellectual and other forms of human and natural history exhibit."--William H. McNeill
"Turns the old argument over science and history upside down."--The Washington Post Book World
"Never before have I come across a book that so illuminated the craft of the historian."--Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun
"This is another of those books that rewards the effort it requires. Besides providing invaluable insights into how the historian goes about his business, it teaches--like all really good books--of life beyond its boundaries."--Colin Walters, Washington Times