- Mass Market Paperback: 197 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; 59500th edition (March 12, 1964)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394705122
- ISBN-13: 978-0394705125
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Historian's Craft: Reflections on the Nature and Uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of Those Who Write It. 59500th Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
Reflection on the nature and uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of those who write it.
About the Author
Marc Bloch was a French historian who cofounded the Annales School of French social history. He was captured and shot by the Gestapo in 1944 for his work with the French Resistance.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Bloch attempts to lift history from its tradition of romantic storytelling, excessive specialization, and its preoccupation with politics, by re-aligning its practices within the broad realm of intellectual inquiry, most importantly science. "There is then," Bloch writes, "just one science of men in time. It requires us to join the study of the dead and of the living." While Bloc concedes that "human actions...elude mathematical measurement," Bloch argues that any intellectual endeavor that explains change over time is historical in its essence. Geology, for example, explains the processes of erosion and plate-tectonics, within the context of time. Thus, understanding the nature of the earth's crust, in relationship to the deteriorating effects of time, is the purpose of studying geology. In contrast to geology, Bloch explains, "it is men that history seeks to grasp." History like many other sciences, are tools for intellectual inquiry. When man is determined to be the subject in question, history, according to Bloch, is the most appropriate tool. The creation of a lake by a man-made dam serves as an excellent example. The inquisitor who is interested in understanding the events that led to the creation of the man-made lake would be better served by analyzing the economic, political, and social phenomena that led to the creation of the dam, rather than the invisible natural geologic processes that led to the creation of the lake. In this sense, history, in comparison to the highly respected intellectual pursuits of hard science, remains an important fixture in intellectual inquiry.
So Bloch has decisively argued that the subject of history is men. But what context should historians study men? Time, according to Bloch, "is a concrete and living reality with an irreversible onward rush." The harsh reality of this constant, influx- producing force provides the logic behind all major historical events. Thus, history cannot merely be a "science of men," or the "science of past," but is instead the "science of men in time," or man's evolution within the context of time. In relation to this, Bloch additionally believes that historians should "join the study of the dead and of the living." While many world leaders would like to make changes to certain contemporary societies, the cultural traditions of a civilization, which pull against reform, are deeply rooted in the fabric of the past. Thus, Bloch argues that man, "remains a more or less willing prisoner," to human institutions that developed throughout history. A historian or even more importantly a world leader that remains unaware of the controlling function of the past, will fail miserably in his or her attempts to improve the future. Likewise, Bloch argues that historians must also be aware of how the present influences our understanding of the past. Bloch believes that "the knowledge of the present bears even more immediately upon the understanding of the past." Bloch states that since historians do their work "backwards," from present to past, a false understanding of the present could lead a historian on a fool's errand in his analysis of the past. Thus, the past and the present, both functions of time, serve as the foundational reference points that all histories should be written from.
Marc Bloch, before The Historian's Craft was released, was captured, tortured, and executed by invading German forces in 1942. His contribution to historical literature and historiography has been immense and influential. The final intellectual testament of his tragically shortened life and the answer to his son's question: "What is the use of history?" has fascinated modern historians and students alike. Ultimately, Bloch left his historiographic masterpiece to future students of history as inspirational guide that acknowledges the characteristics and tactics of history as an intellectual endeavor.
I have read and enjoyed this book for years and think you will find it well worth reading and re-reading. The following famous lines from the book illustrate the zest and love he has for the subject:
"The good historian is like the giant of the fairy tale. He knows that wherever he catches the scent of human flesh, there his quarry lies."
I have it in French, and the English translation, and highly recommend it.
Marc Bloch lived in France when the Second World War occurred and during the war, he wrote this book about the use of history and the historical craft - but this work was not completed because he was shot and killed by the Gestapo on 16 June of 1944 for his involvement in the French Resistance. He was known for his work on French history and feudal societies to which I had little knowledge of. After reading his last book, I feel compelled to read the rest of his works.
"The Historian's Craft" is a strong influence in the field of historiography, though I wouldn't limit it to just history because the "craft" can be applied to other scientific fields. There are five chapters in this book and I can understand why it would be a little hard to read, but that didn't repel me from reading further. For those of us with a serious mind, this book provides a system of reasoning and criticism that would allow one to determine what is true and what is false. I most certainly felt that the "what is use of history" section is an important discussion and what really interested me was the chapters on criticisms and observations.
This is a challenging book that gives one a much food for thoughts for any field of research. It's to be recommended.
Written in near-prose, translated from French, it's not an easy read. For the critical mind however, this book proposes a system of logic that allows one to discern true from false. It's a beautiful, challenging read that anyone who has an interest in history or current events should pick up. Highly recommended.