A master historian explores the critical future of history writing and teaching
For more than sixty years, John Lukacs has been writing, teaching, and reading about the past. In this inspired volume, he turns his attention to the future. Throughout The Future of History, Lukacs reflects on his discipline, eloquently arguing that the writing and teaching of history are literary rather than scientific, comprising knowledge that is neither wholly objective nor subjective. History at its best, he contends, is personal and participatory.
Despite a recently unprecedented appetite for history among the general public, as evidenced by history television program ratings, sales of popular history books, and increased participation in local historical societies, Lukacs believes that the historical profession is in a state of disarray. He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education, matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students. He reviews a series of short-lived fads within the profession that have weakened the fundamentals of the field. In looking for a way forward, Lukacs explores the critical relationships between history and literature, including ways in which novelists have contributed to historical understanding. Through this startling and enlightening work, readers will understand Lukacs's assertion that "everything has its history, including history" and that history itself has a future, since everything we know comes from the past.
"In the dark world here depicted, we see Lukacs's own bright form, in his irresistibly human prose."—Timothy Snyder, Historically Speaking~Timothy Snyder, Historically Speaking
"Practicing historians and . . . history buffs will want to read this book."—David Keymer, Library Journal~David Keymer, Library Journal
"The Future of History deserves a wide audience. Its eloquent advocacy reminds readers of the nature and priorities of the best historical writing, even as it elucidates the undeniable perils of the present decline."—Stanley G. Payne, Historically Speaking~Stanley G. Payne, Historically Speaking