Enter your mobile number 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.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

What Is History? 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0394703916
ISBN-10: 039470391X
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$12.99 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$14.75 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
43 New from $4.59 43 Used from $2.71
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$14.75 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • What Is History?
  • +
  • The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past
Total price: $25.68
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

'...[Carr] tackles half a dozen of the most fundamental questions concerning the interpretation of human social experience. He handles each of these with such mastery as we seldom see, and his little book is one of those rare works which one can with assurance predict will be regarded as basic for years to come.' -- David M. Potter, The Nation
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (October 12, 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039470391X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394703916
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Some of the direct answers Prof. Carr gives to this stimulating question are (1) "to enable [us] to understand the society of the past" and (2) "to increase [our] mastery over the present. Discovering how he arrives at these answers is a reward in itself for anyone who cares in the least bit about the past, the present, or the future. This slim book, burgeoning with exposees and suggestions for thought, is a must-read for anyone who thinks he or she knows what history is, what it means, and what its implications are. The first lecture, "The Historian and His Facts", is a wake-up call for those who define history as a great-big collection of facts, the significance of which resides exclusively in the facts themselves. "Wie es eigentlich gewissen" was, as Prof. Carr explains, an untenable philosopy of history, since so much of what actually happened (and especially what it meant) in the past is dependent upon the biases of those involved in the actions and those involved in attempting to explain them. The five remaining lectures build on each other and make for wonderfully stimulating and interpretive reading. Built of the clarity and intermittent humor of Prof. Carr's prose, the structure of the book is well-conceived and tries to include as many of the central issues as possible, while presenting as fairly as one man can the views of those who do or did cling to conceptions of history which Prof. Carr discredits.
Comment 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though published more than forty years ago, this book has contemporary relevance. A series of lectures given by the author at Cambridge University, it covers topics such as "The Historian and His Facts" and History as progress." The author rejects the notions of Hegal and Marx that history automatically has transcendent meaning. On the other hand neither it it series of random events. He tells us that all history is rinsed through the background filters of those who write it. Therefore "revisionist history" is not an occasional accident produced by over zealous observers, it is the only kind of history available to us. This a good read, perhaps marred slightly by over generalizations. The group discussion in which I participated was simulating.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Although this book is difficult to understand in places (purely by virtue of it being an academic text that has obtained deserved popularity) it is a must for anybody interested in history as a discipline. Debates in historiography have moved on a great deal since Carr wrote this text, and the advent of post-modernism has complicated many of the issues that Carr raises. However, before trying to run, one should walk, and Carr provides the basic skills needed to become a good historian. I would recommend Richard Evans 'In Defence of History' for a modern perspective.
Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on impulse because it seemed relevant to my quest to make sense of the world during the global financial crisis and great recession that began in 2007. I'm glad to say I enjoyed the book and have been rewarded by study and reflection on the ideas presented.

What is History is based on a series of six lectures given at Cambridge University in 1960 and includes notes on the author's later thoughts through to his death in 1982.

Born in 1892, Edward Hallett Carr was an English historian educated at Cambridge who served in the Foreign Office, worked as assistant editor of The Times during World War II, and held academic positions at Cambridge and Oxford.

Carr sees history as a process of perceiving, selecting and interpreting; weighing the roles of individuals and society; asking why things happened and assessing where they are going; accumulating knowledge of the past to increase our mastery of ourselves and our environment now and in the future.

Chapter One deals with the "facts" of history - how they are perceived, selected, arranged and interpreted by successive historians, and finally interpreted by the reader "through eyes of the present."

Chapter Two explores the relative significance of the roles of the individual and the society in which they live. Carr argues that individuals are the products of the conditions in which they live and their interactions with others.

Carr notes 'Man's capacity to rise above his social and historical situation seems to be conditioned by the sensitivity with which he recognizes the extent of his involvement in society.

Chapter Three discusses the claims and counter-claims about whether history is a science.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
.
This superb old book is a thoughtful attempt to define the study of history and historiography. Carr's basic thesis is that people's opinions change throughout their life times, are maleable, and depend on what is going on in the world at any given moment.

The following quote from the book sums up the author's thesis nicely:
.
....."I am fully aware that, if anyone took the trouble to peruse some of the things I wrote before, during, and after the war, he would have no difficulty at all in convicting me of contradictions and inconsistencies at least as glaring as any I have detected in others. Indeed, I am not sure that I should envy any historian who could honestly claim to have lived through the earth-shaking events of the past fifty years without some radical modifications of his outlook. My purpose is merely to show how closely the work of the historian mirrors the society in which he works. It is not merely the events that are in flux. The historian himself is in flux. When you take up a historical work, it is not enough to look for the author's name on the title page: look also for the date of publication or writing--it is sometimes even more revealing. If the philosopher is right in telling us that we cannot step into the same river twice, it is perhaps equally true, and for the same reason, that two books cannot be written by the same historian." (Carr 51-52)

.
The book was written in 1961 but is bright and sparkling and applicable to our own generation's thinking and perceptions.

Kim Burdick
Stanton, Delaware
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

What Is History?
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: What Is History?