That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession

That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession

by Peter Novick
     
 

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The aspiration to relate the past 'as it really happened' has been the central goal of American professional historians since the late nineteenth century. In this remarkable history of the profession, Peter Novick shows how the idea and ideal of objectivity were elaborated, challenged, modified, and defended over the last century. Drawing on the unpublished

Overview

The aspiration to relate the past 'as it really happened' has been the central goal of American professional historians since the late nineteenth century. In this remarkable history of the profession, Peter Novick shows how the idea and ideal of objectivity were elaborated, challenged, modified, and defended over the last century. Drawing on the unpublished correspondence as well as the published writings of hundreds of American historians from J. Franklin Jameson and Charles Beard to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Eugene Genovese, That Noble Dream is a richly textured account of what American historians have thought they were doing, or ought to be doing, when they wrote history - how their principles influenced their practice and practical exigencies influenced their principles.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Professional historians and aspiring professionals will welcome this immensely informative and thoughtful book." E. Cassara, Choice

"Peter Novick has written an unprecedented and invaluable study of the idea of objectivity among historians...He has written a rich and powerful narrative. No other scholar has made such a marvelous contribution to our understanding of the history profession during its first century." David W. Noble, Reviews in American History

"This is a work marked by admirable clarity, wide-ranging and imaginative research, and thoughtful judgements. At one level it explores a question of central concern to scholars of many disciplines—the quest for objectivity in research and writing. Displaying impressive command of intellectual history, Novick situates this quest in broader currents of American thought over the past century. That Noble Dream is finally a serious and often provocative treatment of the professionalization in the United States of the discipline of history." From the Allen J. Beveridge Award Citation

"Peter Novick has written an unprecedented and invaluable study of the idea of objectivity among historians...He has written a rich and powerful narrative. No other scholar has made such a marvelous contribution to our understanding of the history profession during its first century." David W. Noble, Reviews in American History

"This is a work marked by admirable clarity, wide-ranging and imaginative research, and thoughtful judgements. At one level it explores a question of central concern to scholars of many disciplines—the quest for objectivity in reading and writing. Displaying impressive command of intellectual history, Novick situates this quest in broader currents of American thought over the past century. That Noble Dream is finally a serious and often provocative treatment of the professionalization in the United States of the discipline of history." From the Allan C. Beveridge Award Citation

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107263604
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/30/1988
Series:
Ideas in Context , #13
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Laurence R. Veysey
A brilliant and fascinating book.
William H. McNeill
A judicious appraisal of men and circumstances, erudite and wide—ranging. Irreverent but not nastily irreverent, with an admirable delicacy of touch.

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