History in the Making
- Published: Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012
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An eminent historian offers rare insight into his craft and the way it has changed over his lifetime
From the vantage point of nearly sixty years devoted to research and the writing of history, J. H. Elliott steps back from his work to consider the progress of historical scholarship. From his own experiences as a historian of Spain, Europe, and the Americas, he provides a deft and sharp analysis of the work that historians do and how the field has changed since the 1950s.
The author begins by explaining the roots of his interest in Spain and its past, then analyzes the challenges of writing the history of a country other than one's own. In succeeding chapters he offers acute observations on such topics as the history of national and imperial decline, political history, biography, and art and cultural history. Elliott concludes with an assessment of changes in the approach to history over the past half-century, including the impact of digital technology, and argues that a comprehensive vision of the past remains essential. Professional historians, students of history, and those who read history for pleasure will find in Elliott's delightful book a new appreciation of what goes into the shaping of historical works and how those works in turn can shape the world of thought and action.
'Here is a grand panorama of the most significant fields of interest in early modern historiography since the 1950s, which only a tiny few historians are qualified to write. It is timely, beautifully crafted, and invariably balanced in its judgements, and will be an invaluable road-map for a whole generation of younger historians.'—Joseph Bergin, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Manchester~Joseph Bergin
"The author's deep, wide erudition in an age of increasing specialization is impressive and accessible for all students of history. A straightforward, lucid introduction to Elliott's significant body of work."—Kirkus Reviews~Kirkus