Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern / Edition 3

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In this pioneering work, Ernst Breisach presents an effective, well-organized, and concise account of the development of historiography in Western culture. Neither a handbook nor an encyclopedia, this up-to-date third edition narrates and interprets the development of historiography from its origins in Greek poetry to the present, with compelling sections on postmodernism, deconstructionism, African-American history, women’s history, microhistory, the Historikerstreit, cultural history, and more. The definitive look at the writing of history by a historian, Historiography provides key insights into some of the most important issues, debates and innovations in modern historiography.

Praise for the first edition: “Breisach’s comprehensive coverage of the subject and his clear presentation of the issues and the complexity of an evolving discipline easily make his work the best of its kind.”—Lester D. Stephens, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226072838
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2006
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 500
  • Sales rank: 200,575
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernst Breisach is professor emeritus of history at Western Michigan University and the author of several books, including American Progressive History: An Experiment in Modernization and On the Future of History: The Postmodernist Challenge and Its Aftermath, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents


The Emergence of Greek Historiography

 The Era of the Polis and Its Historians

 Reaching the Limits of Greek Historiography

 Early Roman Historiography: Myths, Greeks, and the Republic

 Historians and the Republic’s Crisis

 Perceptions of the Past in Augustan and Imperial Rome

 The Christian Historiographical Revolution

 The Historiographical Mastery of New Peoples, States, and Dynasties

 Historians and the Ideal of the Christian Commonwealth

 Historiography’s Adjustment to Accelerating Change

 Two Turning Points: The Renaissance and The Reformation

 The Continuing Modification of Traditional Historiography

 The Eighteenth-Century Quest for a New Historiography

 Three National Responses

 Historians as Interpreters of Progress and Nation—1

 Historians as Interpreters of Progress and Nation—2

 A First Prefatory Note to Modern Historiography

 History and the Quest for a Uniform Science

 The Discovery of Economic Dynamics

 Historians Encounter the Masses

 The Problem of World History

 Historiography Between Two World Wars (1918–39)
 The Twentieth-Century Context
 Challenges to Historians
 Historicism: From Dominance to Crisis
 Historians and the War Guilt Debate

 History Writing in Liberal Democracies (1918–39)
 American Historiography after the “Great War”
 England: Historiography in a Fading Empire
 French Historians: The Revolutionary Tradition and a New Vision of the Past 

 Historiography and the Grand Ideologies  
 Italian Fascism and historiography (1922–43)  
 German Historians in the Weimar Republic and Hitler’s Reich  
 The Soviet Union: The Imagined Future as the Guide for History  

 American Historiography after 1945  
 New Realities and Traditional Horizons  
 Historical Repercussions of America’s New Status  
 Historiography as Call for Reform  

 History in the Scientific Mode  
 History in the Language of Numbers  
 Reshaping Economic History  
 Growing Dissent: Narrativism  
 Psychohistory: Promise and Problems  
 Transformations in English and French Historiography  
 Voices in the War Guilt Debate  
 History Writing in Post-imperial England  
 Traditional and New French Historical Perspectives  

 Marxist Historiography in the Soviet Union and Western Democracies  
 The Problems and the End of the Soviet Union’s Marxism  
 Marxist Historical Theory in the West  

 Historiography in the Aftermath of Fascism  
 Historical Perspectives in Post-war Italy  
 History for and of a New Germany  

 World History Between Vision and Reality  
 The Multiple Cultures Model  
 Progress and Westernization  
 World System Theories  

 Historiography, Postmodernity and Prospects  
 Historiographical Adjustments to a Turbulent Context  
 History and Visions of a Postmodern Future  
 The New Cultural History  

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012

    Great text on the history of history.

    Many History Majors at one of my Alma Maters groaned at the sight of this book. Mine is the green paperback edition and I am glad to still own mine as I feel ill at the thought of selling back my textbooks. At Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (U.S.A.) Historiography was a "Writing Intensive Course" and was required of every History B.A.

    I chose to take the course with the (then) Chair of the History Department; History being one of the University's largest staffed and highest required hours courses and the Chairman William V. Hudon being one of the greatest and prolifically published young Professors of History in history.

    I mention this because Dr. Hudon was the most challenging Professors especially in this course. Most Professors assigned a few chapters for the whole semester, my Professor assigned a few chapters a week. We read this entire book with discussion for Historiography.

    I am thankful to have been thoroughly soaked in the knowledge contained in this text. It teaches, with example, the way history has been and is written. It shows what skews exist in the spreading of history, where fiction falls into the mix, how multiple accounts of an event (although differing) still allow for a further glimpse of the truth to be seen by one source or even a few sources that are quite nearly the same (which of course tells you whose pockets were filled or what status was granted by the upper echelons who had a purpose and a stake in a "history" being told exactly the same way nearly verbatim), the role of history in current events and thoughts, histories and philosophies leading to revolution and change, and the evolving character of life itself.

    It is a hefty read and I do recommend taking it slowly, taking notes, and checking out some of the referenced philosophers and works: Hegel, Locke, Kant, Thucydides, Chomsky, Kierkegaard, Plato.

    I must strongly note that this text is strongly based only in what is now called "Western" Civilization; leaving out works such as Confucious, Rumi, Sun Tzu, Takuan Soho, Basho, and most of the Asias and Africas.

    If I check back to see if there are other reviews I would like to see if any person knows of a similar book taking into account Eastern Civilization.

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