The Purpose Of The Past: Reflections On The Uses Of History

Paperback | January 27, 2009

byGordon S. Wood

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An erudite scholar and an elegant writer, Gordon S. Wood has won both numerous awards and a broad readership since the 1969 publication of his widely acclaimed The Creation of the American Republic. With The Purpose of the Past, Wood has essentially created a history of American history, assessing the current state of history vis-à-vis the work of some of its most important scholars-doling out praise and scorn with equal measure. In this wise, passionate defense of history's ongoing necessity, Wood argues that we cannot make intelligent decisions about the future without understanding our past. Wood offers a master's insight into what history-at its best-can be and reflects on its evolving and essential role in our culture.

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An erudite scholar and an elegant writer, Gordon S. Wood has won both numerous awards and a broad readership since the 1969 publication of his widely acclaimed The Creation of the American Republic. With The Purpose of the Past, Wood has essentially created a history of American history, assessing the current state of history vis-à-vis...

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor of History at Brown University. A Pulitzer Prize winner, he is a regular contributor to The New Republic and The New York Review of Books.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.3 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:January 27, 2009Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143115049

ISBN - 13:9780143115045

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

The Purpose of the PastIntroduction
1. "Influence" in History
2. Anachronism in History
3. Narrative History
4. The Lessons of History
5. Continuity in History
6. History and the New Historicism
7. History as Fiction
8. History as High Politics
9. Microhistory
10. Truth in History
11. History Versus Political Theory
12. History Without Ideas
13. History and Heritage
14. Comparative History
15. Postmodern History
16. Satirical History
17. Multicultural History
18. History and Myth
19. History as Cultural Criticism
20. Race, Class, Gender and History Writing
21. Presentism in History

Index

Editorial Reviews

"Essential reading for anyone who cares about history."
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"Illuminating . . . [Wood's] pitch-perfect erudition is legendary."
-Douglas Brinkley, Los Angeles Times