What is History? is a historiographical text by E. H. Carr.
Summary of the Book
What is history? Historians would have us believe that history is something much more grander than the study of the past. Laymen would argue that history is just looking at the past and trying to learn from its lessons. Why, then, is there so much conflict when it comes to interpreting history? What is so difficult in putting aside one’s own bias and prejudice when it comes to analysing the past? In this book, E. H. Carr studies the history behind history itself. He looks at the historian as an entity whose sole purpose is the analytical and unbiased examination of the historical truth. He stresses on the necessity of their better judgement to pick and choose what comprises of history and what does not. He then examines history’s place in society and the individual. He studies the individual’s relationship with society as a whole and their influence on social conditions and governments. He questions the moral obligations of history and science and tries to place them together in a way that improves our understand of history. Nevertheless, his attempts at carving out the definition of history from the giant monolith of past attempts is unique by its study of cause and effects and its hope for a wider and brighter horizon.
About E. H. Carr
Edward Hallett “Ted” Carr was an English diplomat, journalist, international relations theorist and historian. He is remembered as an opponent of empiricism within historiography and for his book A History of Soviet Russia.
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