The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History

By Gordon S. Wood
Read by Malcolm Hillgartner

10.78 Hours 01/01/2008 unabridged
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History is to society what memory is to the individual—without it, we don’t know who we are and we can’t make wise decisions about our future. But while the nature of memory is constant, the nature of history has changed radically over the past forty years. In The Purpose of the Past, historian Gordon S. Wood examines this sea change in his field through consideration of some of its most important historians and their works. Along the way, he offers wonderful insight into what great historians do, how they can stumble, and what strains of thought have dominated the marketplace of ideas in historical scholarship. The result is a history of American history—and an argument for its ongoing necessity. A commanding assessment of the field by one of its masters, The Purpose of the Past will enlarge every reader’s capacity to appreciate history.

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Summary

Summary

History is to society what memory is to the individual—without it, we don’t know who we are and we can’t make wise decisions about our future. But while the nature of memory is constant, the nature of history has changed radically over the past forty years.

In The Purpose of the Past, historian Gordon S. Wood examines this sea change in his field through consideration of some of its most important historians and their works. Along the way, he offers wonderful insight into what great historians do, how they can stumble, and what strains of thought have dominated the marketplace of ideas in historical scholarship. The result is a history of American history—and an argument for its ongoing necessity.

A commanding assessment of the field by one of its masters, The Purpose of the Past will enlarge every reader’s capacity to appreciate history.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“[Wood] possesses as profound a grasp of the early days of the Republic as anyone now working.” New York Times Book Review
“Essential reading for anyone who cares about history.” Washington Post
“Illuminating...[Wood’s] pitch-perfect erudition is legendary.”  Los Angeles Times
“Fruitful reading for academics and history buffs alike.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Gordon S. Wood

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history at Brown University. His 1969 book, The Creation of the American Republic 1776–1787, received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes and was nominated for the National Book Award. His 1992 book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. Wood contributes regularly to the New Republic and the New York Review of Books.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 10.78
Audience: Adult
Language: English