Cover: Beyond the Great Story in PAPERBACK

Beyond the Great Story

History as Text and Discourse

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$50.00 • £43.95 • €45.95

ISBN 9780674069084

Publication Date: 09/01/1997


400 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

6 line illustrations

Belknap Press


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A welcome and useful book to all serious students of history… Exactly how should history be presented, if indeed, in the face of poststructuralist and postmodernist theories, it can be written at all? Berkhofer seeks an answer by constructing ‘a dialogue among changing intellectual influences’ and in so doing has produced a work of great importance and instruction.Virginia Quarterly Review

Beyond the Great Story is an attempt to suggest how the practice and institutional discipline of history can survive the challenges of literary, rhetorical, feminist and multicultural theories. Its spirit is both enthusiastically evangelical and pioneering—appropriate adjectives for a text which itself considers several histories of American colonization… Beyond the Great Story is most interesting in drawing upon such examples—Columbus, the Holocaust, the U.S. Constitution, ‘facts’ about George Washington, Lockridge and Cronon’s histories of American colonialism—from historical practice, which continue to be written within ‘normal’ historical parameters.—Moyra Haslett, Imprimatur

This is an intelligent and well-researched book. Berkhofer poses many thoughtful questions and presents an excellent guide to theoretical and historiographical debates.—Michael S. Roth, American Historical Review

This book provides an excellent introduction to and survey of recent debates among American historians about history and theory, and its message is that historians should be more self-conscious and self-critical, in a word more reflexive in their writing and reviewing.—W. Stafford, English Historical Review

A thoughtful book, balanced in its judgments on the subject of postmodernism’s challenge to conventional historical practice… [It] touches down on countless issues…raising many challenges for historians. Its call to innovate and transgress established boundaries is scaffolded on a wide reading and impressive synthesizing of difficult and often oppositional literatures—the evidence of all historiographic comment.—Bryan D. Palmer, Journal of American History

Beyond the Great Story proposes to assist historians in catching up with the important discussions so lively in our sister disciplines about knowledge in the postmodern condition… Berkhofer’s great achievement in this volume is to translate the difficult theoretical discourses of the past two decades into questions for historians and to pose them in a manner that directly and clearly addresses their disciplinary concerns. He does this with skill, comprehensiveness, intelligence, and fairness to all sides of what is often a rancorous debate.—Mark Poster, Reviews of Books

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