THE HISTORIAN AND HISTORY by Page Smith
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THE HISTORIAN AND HISTORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is not a comprehensive work, but its subject- the various historical titudes which have affected man's understanding of the past and present- is illuminated in a lively, literate manner, eschewing much of the somnolent double-talk of scholardom. Further, it's extremely up-to-date, sprinkled with intelligent references to such eclectic figures as Eliade, Huessy, Mannheim, Popper and so forth. The early chapters are a little breezy, glossary-like run-throughs of the Classical and Christian traditions. Machiavelli's mechanics of power, Condorcet's progressivism, the dialectics of Hegel and Marx. The middle ones delve deeper; these concern the anti-liberal schools of Nietzsche, Burckhardt and Dilthey, the crisis-heologians such as Berdyaev and Niebuhr, and three modern metahistorians, Spengler, oynbee and Vogelin- all of whom, at different levels, favor the subjective or ranscendental approach to the so-called scientific one. In the last portions, the ulkiest and heaviest in tone, the author grapples with conflicting issues within contemporary American academic history and takes the unpopular view that the research-craze has led to triviality and the ideal of ""perspective"" to distortions, as in, so he claims, discussions of the Colonial Revolution. He appends a plea to put man back into history- for ""we are all both heirs and ancestors""- thereby perhaps ending the age's ahistoricism and lack of signification. A judicious and profitable guide.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1964
Publisher: Knopf