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The New History and the Old is a marvelously written, perfectly serious, yet vastly entertaining critique of current fashions in the writing of history—social history, psychoanalytic history, quantitative history, Marxist and neo-Marxist history, mentalité history.
As the "new" history is coming to dominate the profession, Gertrude Himmelfarb argues, it tends to supplant rather than supplement the "old," which centered on political, constitutional, diplomatic, and intellectual events. The effect is not only to transform the discipline of history, but also to alter profoundly our sense of the past. A mode of history that belittles politics and ideas denigrates the political institutions and intellectual traditions that have shaped our past, and severs the continuity between past and present, leaving little that is usable in their place.
This provocative analysis of the "revolution in history," as it has been called, has implications that go well beyond the discipline of history itself. It raises fundamental and far-reaching questions about the nature of our postmodern society and will undoubtedly arouse a good deal of discussion and debate along broad cultural lines.
"History with the Politics Left Out"
Clio and the New History
Two Nations or Five Classes: The Historian as Sociologist
The "Group": British Marxist Historians
Social History in Retrospect
Reflections of a Chastened Father
Recovering a Lost World
Case Studies in Psychohistory
Edmund Burke: An Ambivalent Conservative
James and John Stuart Mill: Ambivalent Rebels
Is National History Obsolete?
The Frenchness of France
The Englishness of England
Who Now Reads Macaulay?
History and the Idea of Progress
Does History Talk Sense?
Index of Names