Truth in History

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Overview

Like scholars in other fields, historians have long occupied themselves in self-justification. In a society which calibrates all measures by a single standard, the proof of scientific worth became relevance, which in turn was interpreted as a search not for truth but for political correctness. In a blistering professional critique of this tendency in academic scholarship, perhaps the first of its kind, Oscar Handlin offers an analysis that, if anything, has grown more pertinent over the past decade.

In seventeen chapters, written with the brilliant assurance of a master craftsman, Handlin shows why the turn to partisanship and meaning has undermined the calling of historical research. As his new introduction makes clear, partisanship has taken the best and brightest from the field into different callings. Both widely heralded upon its initial appearance as well as attacked with vigor, Truth in History emanates from a half-century’s experience of reading, writing, teaching, researching, and publishing in history and related disciplines. The passage of time has only confirmed the concerns of Handlin and the accuracy of his predictions for the field. This book will be valuable for sociologists, economists, political scientists, and historians. It is a must read for those who contemplate a life of scholarship in liberal arts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560009511
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Pages: 437
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Oscar Handlin was director of the Center for the History of Liberty in America at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous works which have become classics: The Wealth of the American People, The Newcomers, Negroes and Puerto Ricans in a Changing Metropolis, Children of the Uprooted, The American College and American Culture, The Uprooted, Race and Nationality in American Life, and The Distortion of America (available from Transaction).

Oscar Handlin was director of the Center for the History of Liberty in America at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous works which have become classics: The Wealth of the American People, The Newcomers, Negroes and Puerto Ricans in a Changing Metropolis, Children of the Uprooted, The American College and American Culture, The Uprooted, Race and Nationality in American Life, and The Distortion of America (available from Transaction).

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface: The Abuses of History
Personal Reflections on a Calling 1
1 A Discipline in Crisis 3
2 Living in a Valley 25
The Central Themes of American History 41
3 A History of American History 43
4 Theories of Historical Interpretation 85
5 Historical Criticism 111
6 An Instance of Criticism 145
Dealing with the Evidence 163
7 How to Read a Word 165
8 How to Count a Number 194
9 Seeing and Hearing 227
10 History in a World of Knowledge 252
Persistent Themes and Hard Facts 291
11 Political Theory and Popular Thought 293
12 Man and Magic 316
13 Good Guys and Bad 332
14 The Two-Party System 353
The Uses of History 369
15 The Diet of a Ravenous Public 371
16 Ethnicity and the New History 383
17 The Uses of History 403
Acknowledgments 417
Index 421
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