THE HISTORIANS' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES by

THE HISTORIANS' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Historians' History of the United States is a handsomely produced two-volume panorama of American history--from Columbus to the present--by eminent American historians writing on the periods in which they have specialized. The living and the dead, the definitive and the dated, practically every American historian of note is represented. ""Together,"" the reader is told, ""they tell a coherent history."" Any way you look at it, it's still a super de-luxe non-book, an anthology packaged and designed to support a fallacious theory. In the first place, the work is neither history nor historiography. The thought of scores of historians, glued end to end, telling ""a coherent history,"" is of course sheer claptrap, and those interested in discovering how the American story has been shaped and formed can read to greater advantage such works as Harvey Wish's The American Historian. In the second, this anthology--despite its comparatively well written introductions--is outdated even before it is published. The University of Chicago Press is now reprinting the best of the works of the great American historians in its Classic American Historians series to make sure that these writings ""do not become, like the dinosaurs, extinct because of their size."" There are no condensations here, no gimmicks, no pretence of retelling the history of the United States in a single grabbag of excerpts. It is impossible to recommend The Historians' History of the United States to any particular circle of readers, as it is not evident for whom the volumes were intended. Serious students of history will have no need of it; novices will be better off with the University of Chicago series.

Publisher: Putnam