Recent Themes in Historical Thinking: Historians in Conversation

Donald A. Yerxa
Univ of South Carolina Press, 2008 - 141 ˹

A compendium of keen insights into new approaches and methods for historical inquiry

Described as "the New York Review of Books for history," Historically Speaking has emerged as one of the most distinctive historical publications in recent years, actively seeking out contributions from a pantheon of leading voices in historical discourse from both inside and outside academia. Recent Themes in Historical Thinking represents some of the best writing on historiography to appear in the past five years.

The prominent historians featured in this collection of essays and interviews drawn from Historically Speaking comment on such wide-ranging topics as the impact of postmodernism on the field, the relationship between professional and popular history, the importance of historical consciousness, and the limitations of the field in its current state. A special feature of this volume is a lively forum on counterfactuals, the might-have-beens of history. The volume in general and the forum in particular illustrate the value of ongoing conversation between historians in advancing historical investigation and enriching debate and discussion within and beyond the academic setting.

Designed as an accessible point of entry for students and interested general readers, Recent Themes in Historical Thinking opens new vistas for understanding the methods of historiography.


What Is History Now? An Interview with David Cannadine
The Public Use of History
Postmodernism and Historiography
Is the Dark Light Enough?
Counterfactuals and the Historical Imagination
Counterfactualism Defended
Further Readings

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Donald A. Yerxa is assistant director of the Historical Society and editor of its bulletin, Historically Speaking. A professor of history at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts. Yerxa is the author of The Burning of Falmouth, 1775 and Admirals and Empire: The United States Navy and the Caribbean, 1898-1945 as well as coauthor of Species of Origins: America's Search for a Creation Story. His articles and interviews have appeared in Military Affairs, the Naval War College Review, Mariner's Mirror, Fides et Historia, Books & Culture, Science & Spirit, Historically Speaking, and other publications.