The Landscape of History

  • by John Lewis Gaddis
  • Narrated by Jack Chekijian
  • 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What is history, and why should we study it? Is there such a thing as historical truth? Is history a science? One of the most accomplished historians at work today, John Lewis Gaddis, answers these and other questions in this short, witty, and humane book. The Landscape of History provides a searching look at the historian's craft as well as a strong argument for why a historical consciousness should matter to us today. Gaddis points out that while the historical method is more sophisticated than most historians realize, it doesn't require unintelligible prose to explain. Like cartographers mapping landscapes, historians represent what they can never replicate. In doing so, they combine the techniques of artists, geologists, paleontologists, and evolutionary biologists. Their approaches parallel, in intriguing ways, the new sciences of chaos, complexity, and criticality. They don't much resemble what happens in the social sciences, where the pursuit of independent variables functioning with static systems seems increasingly divorced from the world as we know it. So who's really being scientific, and who isn't? This question, too, is one Gaddis explores in ways that are certain to spark interdisciplinary controversy.


What the Critics Say

"A bold and challenging book, unafraid of inviting controversy. It provides a strong statement for our time of both the limits and the value of the historical enterprise." (New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely fascinating book!

Absolutely fascinating book! Completely changed my mental construct of history and how to apply it to my view of the present. Very well articulated and at times forced me question my beliefs on the use of history to explain the present. He draws on his wealth of knowledge to explain how professors /or students of history can scale and portray the functions of history. Recommend this book to anyone looking to see history in a different light or at least reinforce their belief in the importance of history.
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- Alexander

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-14-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio