In this incisive look at the history of history, Hunt asserts that globalization will inspire a new paradigm acknowledging...


A noted historian offers a lucid overview of her changing field.

“History is always under construction,” writes Hunt (History/UCLA; Inventing Human Rights, 2007, etc.) in this study of the current state of historical writing. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, histories served the purpose of reinforcing national identity, telling a story meant to provide disparate ethnic groups, classes and regions with a common sense of their country’s past. By midcentury, however, new perspectives emerged, influencing research and writing: Marxism, which focused on class struggles; modernization, which investigated the transmission of knowledge and the conflict “between modernizing forces and traditional groups who are left behind”; the French Annales school, which examined society, social groups and economies; and identity politics, which looked particularly at women, minorities and immigrant groups. These four paradigms, the author argues, were undermined by cultural theories emerging from the 1960s to 1990s: Race studies, queer studies, gender studies and post-colonial studies served as critiques, insisting that “race, gender, and class could not be viewed as stable categories determined by biology, demography, or economics” but rather were “shaped by unstable systems of interrelationship created by shifting cultural values.” Beginning in the ’90s, many historians developed a new interest in transnational and global history, posing a challenge to redefine the boundaries of society. Historians thinking globally widen their scopes to consider the relationship of humans to the natural world, individuals’ psychology and the connection between biology and culture. Hunt offers some startling examples of global interactions—e.g., the desperate demand for Chinese rhubarb, used as a purgative in 17th-century Europe, which affected travel, economics and the transmission of medical knowledge from China to Europe. When tea drinking became a popular leisure time activity, it inspired importation of special cups, saucers and teapots and influenced the creation of meals as “important domestic activities” signaling refinement.

In this incisive look at the history of history, Hunt asserts that globalization will inspire a new paradigm acknowledging the importance—and inevitably—of cross-disciplinary and collaborative inquiry.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-393-23924-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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