By John Lukacs
To check background is to benefit approximately oneself. And to fail to understand the significance of the earlier 151 to stay blind to the deeds and writing of earlier generations 151 is to bind oneself by means of the passions and prejudices of the age into which one is born. John Lukacs, certainly one of at the present time s most generally released historians, explains what the learn of background includes, the way it has been approached over the centuries, and why it's going to be undertaken by way of this present day s scholars. This advisor is a call for participation to develop into a grasp of the historian s craft. writer: John LukacsPages: 50, PaperbackPublisher: Christendom PressISBN: 1-882926-42-2
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Yet let me mention two men who lived in that century who did not wholly share the scientific concept of history but who, in retrospect, emerge as very great writers. One is Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), who is mostly known for his classic Democracy in America (which is not a history); but his The Old Regime and the French Revolution again amounts to a new, and 48 AStudent’sGuidetotheStudyofHistory increasingly appreciated, kind of history, penetrating beneath the surface of political events.
The nineteenth-century monographic ideal was that certifiable historian who, having read every document and every writing relating to his topic, is able to produce a complete and definitive history of it. This is no longer possible—because of the possibility that new documents, new treatments, and more publications about his topic, many in different places and languages of the world, may yet appear. (Of course some histories are more “definitive” than others. ) 33 JohnLukacs After a while you will have gathered an amount of material.
But it is, inevitably, a study of Hitler himself, too. Thus (a) it is both a historiographical and historical work; and (b) its main subject is that of problems, rather than that of periods—but the latter is true of much of history, always. * Keep in mind that just as a small book or painting or sculpture or building is not necessarily inferior to large ones, a research paper with an impressive number of footnotes is not necessarily better than one with few footnotes (or even one with none). 36 AStudent’sGuidetotheStudyofHistory of apprentice archivist, but someone who knows how to read and write relatively well—and whose knowledge of some history gives him at least a modicum of understanding of the variety of human beings.