Catalogue


Engagement with the past : the lives and works of the World War II generation of historians /
William Palmer.
imprint
Lexington, KY : University Press of Kentucky, c2001.
description
xvii, 372 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0813122066 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lexington, KY : University Press of Kentucky, c2001.
isbn
0813122066 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4589241
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
William Palmer, professor of history at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-04-01:
Palmer (Marshall Univ.) examines the lives and works of 24 British and American historians, most born between 1910 and 1920. Individuals covered include Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Boorstin, C. Vann Woodward, Barbara Tuchman, William McNiell, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill, and Oscar Handlin. About evenly divided between "lives" and "works," this brilliantly conceived study of an important generation of historians does an especially good job of pointing out continuities with preceding and subsequent historiography. Unfortunately, there are also significant flaws in the structure and execution of the project. Palmer's choice of subjects sometimes seems arbitrary and eccentric. There is little connection between the British and American historians, so that choosing one group or the other might have been preferable to doing both. Palmer also shoehorns his subjects into four major categories of achievement--cultural critics, archivalists, "controversialists," and synthesizers--in a way that feels forced and contrived. Still, this is a welcome addition to a frequently overlooked part of the badly neglected field of historiograpical studies, and should appeal to a wide range of readers interested in American or English history. K. Blaser Wayne State College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A fascinating, seminal study on a generation of historians whose impact on world culture we are just beginning to fully appreciate. This is intellectual history at its absolute finest. A landmark book brimming with analytical savvy, narrative flare, and sound judgment.-- Douglas Brinkley" -- Douglas Brinkley
"A most engaging book about the generation of British and American historians who challenged the orthodoxies sustaining some of the most cherished national myths." -- Wilson Quarterly
"A most engaging book about the generation of British and American historians who challenged the orthodoxies sustaining some of the most cherished national myths.-- Wilson Quarterly" -- Wilson Quarterly
"A unique group biography of this unusually talented class of history-makers." -- Giustificativo
"A unique group biography of this unusually talented class of history-makers.-- Giustificativo" -- Giustificativo
"Bill Palmer's fascinating study reconstructs the experiences and intellectual world of a seminal generation of historians on both sides of the Atlantic. Based on a wide range of sources, including personal interviews with many of those discussed, his argument is persuasive and thought-provoking. The book greatly enhances our understanding of the development of the modern historical profession and deserves to have a very wide readership." -- David L. Smith
"Palmer has written a perceptive book, which simultaneously explains much about the nature of history as intellectual discourse in the mid-twentieth century and the forces, inside and outside the academy, which converged to shape its development.-- Albion" -- Albion
"This work is extraordinarily informative, rationally organized, and written with clarity and grace." -- William B. Gatewood
"Palmer has written a perceptive book, which simultaneously explains much about the nature of history as intellectual discourse in the mid-twentieth century and the forces, inside and outside the academy, which converged to shape its development." -- Albion
"For historians this book is a must, not because they have to read it, but because they will love it! It is also something general readers of history will grab for: personal sides of historians readers are not likely to know about. The book also places historical works into fresh and often revealing patterns. No other book lets a reader so openly into the workings of university departments or shows the closeness between good teaching and good book writing. Big as this book is, it is still a page turner.-- Carl N. Degler" -- Carl N. Degler
"For historians this book is a must, not because they have to read it, but because they will love it! It is also something general readers of history will grab for: personal sides of historians readers are not likely to know about. The book also places historical works into fresh and often revealing patterns. No other book lets a reader so openly into the workings of university departments or shows the closeness between good teaching and good book writing. Big as this book is, it is still a page turner." -- Carl N. Degler
"Bill Palmer's fascinating study reconstructs the experiences and intellectual world of a seminal generation of historians on both sides of the Atlantic. Based on a wide range of sources, including personal interviews with many of those discussed, his argument is persuasive and thought-provoking. The book greatly enhances our understanding of the development of the modern historical profession and deserves to have a very wide readership.-- David L. Smith" -- David L. Smith
"A brilliantly conceived study of an important generation of historians.... A welcome addition to a frequently overlooked part of the badly neglected historiographical studies." -- Choice
"A brilliantly conceived study of an important generation of historians.... A welcome addition to a frequently overlooked part of the badly neglected historiographical studies.-- Choice" -- Choice
"This work is extraordinarily informative, rationally organized, and written with clarity and grace.-- William B. Gatewood" -- William B. Gatewood
"A fascinating, seminal study on a generation of historians whose impact on world culture we are just beginning to fully appreciate. This is intellectual history at its absolute finest. A landmark book brimming with analytical savvy, narrative flare, and sound judgment." -- Douglas Brinkley
"Addresses an important subject with wit and good writing and provides a collection of memorable bon mots from a group of notable historians." -- Journal of American History
"Addresses an important subject with wit and good writing and provides a collection of memorable bon mots from a group of notable historians.-- Journal of American History" -- Journal of American History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
This unique group biography investigates the personal and professional histories of what is often referred to as the World War II Generation of Historians, a group that includes such luminaries as Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Daniel Boorstin, C. Vann Woodward, Edmund S. Morgan, Barbara Tuchman, Hugh Trevor Roper, and more than a dozen other distinguished historians of our time. They grew up in the aftermath of World War I, went to college in the 1930s as the multiple threats of the Great Depression, Hitler, and Communism loomed over them, saw their careers interrupted by World War II, and faced the prospect of nuclear annihilation.Based upon extensive personal interviews and careful reading of their work, Engagement with the Past is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at a generation of historians and how they helped record and shape modern history.
Main Description
" Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., John Hope Franklin, Daniel Boorstin, C. Vann Woodward, Edmund S. Morgan, Barbara Tuckman, Eric Hobsbawn, Hugh Trevor Roper, Lawrence Stone -- aside from carrying the distinction as some of the most successful and well-respected historians of the twentieth century, these scholars found their lives and careers evolving amid some of the world's pivotal historical moments. Dubbed the World War II Generation, the twenty-two English and American historians chronicled by William Palmer grew up in the aftermath of World War I, went to college in the 1930s as the threats of the Great Depression, Hitler, and Communism loomed over them, saw their careers interrupted by World War II, and faced the prospect of nuclear annihilation. They gained from their experiences the perspective and insight necessary to wrtie definitive histories on topics ranging from slavery to revolution. Engagement with the Past offers biographies of these individuals in the context of their generation's intellectual achievement. Based upon extensive personal interviews and careful reading of their work, Engagement with the Past is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a generation of historians and how they helped record and shape modern history.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Writing Historians' Livesp. ix
Lives
Beginningsp. 3
Harvard, the 1930s, and the Making of a Historical Generationp. 19
Other American Colleges and Universitiesp. 36
The English University Experience in the 1930sp. 52
V Was for Victoryp. 72
Building Careers in the Postwar Worldp. 89
At the Pinnacle (Mostly)p. 121
Teachingp. 151
Achievement
The Cultural Criticsp. 177
The Controversialistsp. 199
The Archival Revolutionp. 229
Synthesis, Printed Sources, and Other Kinds of Historyp. 261
Conclusionp. 298
Appendixp. 307
Notesp. 315
Bibliographyp. 345
Acknowledgmentsp. 355
Indexp. 357
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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