For this updated edition of her acclaimed work on historians and the writing of history, Gertrude Himmelfarb adds four insightful and provocative essays dealing with changes in the discipline over the past twenty years.
In examining the effects of postmodernism, the illusions of cosmopolitanism, A. J. P. Taylor and revisionism, and Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history,” Himmelfarb enriches her illuminating exploration of the myriad ways—new and old—in which historians make sense of the past.
Himmelfarb has an intellect of steel as sharp as a razor. For those who enjoy intellectual debate and a concern for the value of the past, The New History and the Old is as splendid as an Olympic fencing match.
One can only share Ms. Himmelfarb’s hope that we shall soon be allowed to ‘find a renewed excitement in the drama of events, the power of ideas, and the dignity of individuals’… [The New History and the Old] will serve as a powerful corrective to many unquestioned assumptions.
Gertrude Himmelfarb is the author of many books, including intellectual biographies of Acton, Darwin, and Mill; essays on the Victorians, including Victorian Minds; the social history studies The Idea of Poverty and The De-Moralization of Society; and reflections on contemporary culture, On Looking into the Abyss and One Nation, Two Cultures.