Category Archives: What is History?

Breaking the Habit: a review by John A. Hargreaves

Breaking the Habit: A Life of History, Richard Brown, Authoring History, 2016, 175 pp., £7.13, paper, ISBN 9781530295234 In this retrospective but far from introspective, autobiographical memoir Richard Brown muses ‘on the nature of History in an increasingly challenging environment’. … Continue reading

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Posted in Autobiographical fragments, Books, What is History?

What is a historian?

I’m not sure whether it’s envy or snobbery or simply a desire to maintain their historical hegemony that leads ‘academic’ historians to lay waste to the work produced by ‘popular’ historians.  Sir Max Hastings appears to have borne the brunt … Continue reading

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Forty years on…

As Christopher Daniels reminded me in his recent article on historical sources, it’s forty years since we wrote out first article on history education.  Not only does that means that we’re both growing disgracefully older but that, in the interim, … Continue reading

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Refighting the First World War by today’s politicians

It is hardly surprising in the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War that historians, politicians and countries are reappraising its origins, course and consequences.  We have already seen the publication of a tranche of books on … Continue reading

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400,000 and counting

PASSING 400,000 I started my Looking at History blog on Blogger on 30 July 2007 and it’s taken until 7 June 2013 to reach 400,000 ‘hits’: an average of around 66,000 per year.  I’ve published 823 blogs in that time, … Continue reading

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Posted in Australia, Autobiographical fragments, Books, Canadian history, Chartism, History of Britain in 100 Places, Home, News and politics, Nineteenth century politics, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, The Normans, What is History? | Tagged ,

‘A Peaceable Kingdom’: Essays on Nineteenth Century Canada

JUST PUBLISHED The essays in this book seek to unpick the notion of the ‘peaceable kingdom’ in the light of the violence that permeated Canada between 1837 and 1885 and argue that, far from having little impact on the development … Continue reading

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Bias, history and the National Curriculum

In a speech today Michael Gove has accused some teachers of promoting an ‘infantilised’ view of history.  The basis for his argument was the suggestion in an outline lesson plan that students could create Mr Men characters based on Hitler … Continue reading

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History in schools

The purpose of the proposed changes in the National Curriculum is made very clear in its prologue: A high-quality history education equips pupils to think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. A knowledge of Britain’s past, … Continue reading

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Further causes of E. P. Thompson

Edward Thompson’s conceptualisation of experience is an important theoretical contribution in understanding history and in particular, the formation of class consciousness.[1] While the historical writing of Marx and Engels was generally subtle, the way they summarised the relationship between social … Continue reading

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The causes of E. P. Thompson

The ‘mature’ political and historical career of Edward Thompson began in 1956, when he launched a public, and at times bitter, struggle against Stalinism in politics, in Marxist theory and in history. ‘I commenced to reason in my thirty-third year,’ … Continue reading

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It’s the story silly: Edward Thompson and narrative

Thompson’s critics argue that his unique narrative style further imposes biased principles onto his historical subjects. It is widely known that Thompson’s initial academic interests were primarily in literature, and his inspiration to become a historian largely has been attributed … Continue reading

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Edward Thompson and Marxist history

Edward Thompson made a considerable impact on my first year at university largely because I had the daunting task of reading his The Making of the English Working Class in a week.  Published in 1963, it is the work for … Continue reading

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Elton and the practice of history

My links with Sir Geoffrey Elton were slight but memorable.  I had attended some of his lecture on the Tudors while I was in the sixth form and had dinner with him following a Historical Association conference in Cambridge where … Continue reading

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The Craft of History

I have several connections with Marc Bloch, the French historian who was shot in 1944 for being in the Resistance during the war.  My great-uncle studied briefly with him in Paris in 1938 just after Bloch moved from to the … Continue reading

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What are turning points in history?

Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517, the Renaissance, the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Waterloo a decade later, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914….are all regarded by historians (well … Continue reading

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