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After the Fact: The Art of Historical…
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After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection (utgåvan 2000)

av James West Davidson (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
444441,330 (3.79)5
Volume 2 of a 2-volume work that uses 15 dramatic episodes in American history to show students how historians go about the business of interpreting the past. It discusses historical methods within the context of an historical narrative so that students may learn about American history at the same time as seeing how historians use a variety of evidence (diaries, letters, photographs and records) and methods to explain the past.… (mer)
Medlem:Sheolshalom1
Titel:After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection
Författare:James West Davidson (Författare)
Info:McGraw-Hill (2000), Edition: 4th, 448 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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After The Fact: The Art of Historical Detection av James West Davidson (Author)

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I am reasonably sure this is a college textbook, but it's shameful something which ought to be the foundation of an education of history seems to be tucked away and forgotten by our education system until you become a history major. Or possibly minor.

The basic goal of the text is to illuminate how history is deciphered, it's limitations and ultimately that it is an epic mistake to treat history and the past interchangeably. Each chapter approaches a particular way of studying the past through a specific historical event highlighting how the type of data available inherently limits and focuses the history that can be constructed. The characteristics of the resources historians have availible may have been consciously curated to tell a certain story at the time of it's creation as in a photograph, public political speech, or literary activism, or their character may be shaped without intent by virtue of documentation being limited to certain classes, the fact than any human documentation is limited by the experience of those documenting it or simply that time passes swiftly and is unconcerned with leaving proper documentation.

The authors intentionally choose to look beyond the common-knowledge assessment of the history they discuss to show how history can be misleading or how it is impossible to strip the past down to a single point of view or rigid chain of cause and effect. This is not to say that there is no such thing as an authentic past, but that history is incabable of reproducing it. It is simply too big, complicated and messy. It explodes outward exponentially from a single event in the actions and beliefs of people colliding into still more events each hopelessly and unconsciously interconnected in their immediacy. The ultimate message seems to be, we should all study the past, but understand that no single person owns it. Which is probably why you're unlikely to face such an approach in the usual education. It fundamentally undermines the idea that there is such a thing orthodox history, and instead points out that the past is only seen from where it's witnesses are standing. ( )
1 rösta fundevogel | Nov 3, 2013 |
This is a must-have book for anyone who reads, studies, or writes about history. This book covers many different periods in American History, and explains what researchers need to look for in order to understand and decipher history. It ranges from periods of the first settlements in Virginia to the Vietnam War. It covers noteworthy people such as John Brown, Andrew Jackson, Frederick Jackson Turner, and Thomas Jefferson. It explains how historians must analyze primary documents in order to accurately understand incidents by looking at the use of perspective, point of view, how an interviewee's answers vary according to who the interviewer was,and what sorts of questions and biases were present, as well as looking at who and what can influence how decisions were made in the past.
For instance, one section was about the dropping of the atomic bombs in World War II. It explains how many different people, every day, were making important decisions, and how these decisions influenced Truman and the final decision-making process which led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Another section was about interviewing former slaves, and discussed the importance of who was doing the actual interviewing. Would a former black slave be willing to say things to a black interviewer that he or she wouldn't say to a white interviewer?
One section covers point of view in the movies that were made about Vietnam, and another section shows how photographs can be used to tell the story that the photographer wishes to tell, through the use of camera angle and subjects. All of these things are important to know if you are serious about doing research to accurately understand and interpret historical events. We must remember that no one can tell every side of a story, most people don't want you to know every side of the story, and you are usually only seeing one side of a story when you read a primary document. You need to do extensive research to compare and contrast information, and in the end, you, in turn will report what you learn with your own biases attached, just as those before you did. ( )
1 rösta gcamp | Dec 10, 2010 |
After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection is a great teaching book, even though it is sold as a textbook (my overall opinion of textbooks is rather low). Every chapter takes a different historical approach to a different problem in American history and has its own subset of teaching points. Nearly every mainstream type of historical research is represented: political, organizational, economic, statistical, legal, environmental, psychohistorical, and so on. Yet the authors deal with each in a way that never sounds dry, nor does it ever sound like a textbook listing theory after theory. I found almost all of the chapters both informative and interesting.

If you are considering buying this used for a class, keep in mind that newer editions have chapters not present in the old editions, and that at least one chapter has been removed. Also, the version that comes packaged with a CD-ROM is mightily overpriced. Regardless, as a graduate student in history, this book has shown me a number of interesting and new ways to attack historical problems. ( )
1 rösta mcalister | Oct 21, 2008 |
Discusses not only how to unearth historical facts, but how to see them, read them, and explain them.
  gnbclibrary | Sep 25, 2007 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (8 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Davidson, James WestFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Lytle, Mark HamiltonFörfattarehuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
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As has become clear, the historian's simple act of selection irrevocably separates "history" from "the past."
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Volume 2 of a 2-volume work that uses 15 dramatic episodes in American history to show students how historians go about the business of interpreting the past. It discusses historical methods within the context of an historical narrative so that students may learn about American history at the same time as seeing how historians use a variety of evidence (diaries, letters, photographs and records) and methods to explain the past.

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