21 апреля 2009 | Автор: Admin | Рубрика: Художественные книги » Мемуары. Биографии | Комментариев: 0
Practicing History: Selected Essays By Barbara W. Tuchman
Ballantine Books | ISBN 0345911016 | 1982 | 320 Pages | PDF & HTML | 1,3 Mb & 0,3 Mb
From thoughtful pieces on the historian's role to striking insights into America's past and present to trenchant observations on the international scene, Barbara W. Tuchman looks at history in a unique way and draws lessons from what she sees. Here is a splendid body of work, the story of a lifetime spent "practicing history."
This should be compulsory reading for everybody in positions of power and influence. The essays may have passed into history, but their verities remain. The anguish caused by political and commercial stupidity and its by-product of war would be lessened if power brokers learnt from history. War is folly, as this great historian wrote many years ago. Will people ever learn? I cannot use the word 'humanity' when I think of what we do to others.
Somewhat dated, perhaps. But, Mrs. Tuchman's insights in "Practicing History" are timeless in key points on the myth of objectivity and keeping the historical context of events in view. In our day, history seems dependent on the historian's political slant with few exceptions and Mrs. Tuchman speaks to that trend years before it became so obvious. Her words also speak to the growth of the post-world war one cynicism that seems as prevalent (perhaps more so) a century later. So-called "professionals" of all fields are sometimes easily offended or threatened by what Mrs. Tuchman calls "independent" communicators in their field. Attempting to dismiss or marginalize the independent/amateur is not a response to the issues they raise. Only an independent could have written this book and challenged the "professional" establishment. And few independents have the credentials to do so as Mrs. Tuchman has.
This book is ideal for communicators in the field of history and historical fiction. Whether one agrees with her or not, dismissing Mrs. Tuchman is no option for the serious historian - professional or independent.
Summary: Barbara Tuchman for Dinner
I love the feeling that I'm picking the brain of BWT. Her methods of writing and observations are worthwhile for a lifetime. The humility the author has toward fact gathering benefits all her readers. This collection is first a delight to any fan of the woman herself, and second a tool for learning about good history writing. A bonus third point is for history novices like me- a crash course on several topics of interest. A "crash course" from Barbara Tuchman is possibly an experience of the most concise, informative and comprehensive summary on a subject you'll find.
"Practicing History", by Barbara W. Tuchman, sub-titled "Selected Essays". Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1981.
This book is a collection of essays written by the noted Historian, Barbara W. Tuchman (e.g. "The Guns of August"), over the course of her long career. In my humble opinion, for the novice historian, the most interesting essays are, "The Historian as Artist" (pages 45-50), "The Historian's Opportunity", (pages 51-64). In these two essays, Ms. Tuchman challenges the budding historian to not only collect facts, dates and events, but rather to write History so the end product is as engaging as modern novel, BUT, based upon excellent scholarship. Ms. Tuchman is a proponent of "narrative" History, where the facts "...require arrangement, composition planning just like a painting - Rembrandt's 'Night Watch`" (page 49). These two essays would enhance any course in Historiography.
Some of her remaining essays are a bit dated, but provide keen insight into the times, as in Tuchman's "Japan: A Clinical Note", (pages 93-97). Her essays on Israel tend to be a bit chauvinistic, in the sense that the author's objectivity slips and she can find very little wrong with the budding Jewish state in what was once Palestine. The essay, "Perdicaris Alive or Rasuli Dead" (pages 104-117), is very entertaining, particularly if you are interested in New York's Teddy Roosevelt. All in all, the first section of this book, (called "The Craft"), includes essays that should be required reading for a student beginning graduate work in History.
These essays allow the reader to enjoy Barbara Tuchman's incisive historical analysis and sharp wit in small doses. Most of the essays were written in the 1950s or 1960s or even earlier, but they are still fresh and pointed. Reading Tuchman is like listening to your favorite history professor. She'll tell a dramatic story and finish up with some wry observations that will keep you thinking long after.
This book, and ALL my other posts, are fully SCANNED, OCR'd, & PROOFED by me for maximum quality :-)