The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past

Version: Unabridged
Author: John Lewis Gaddis
Narrator: Jack Chekijian
Genres: History
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published In: June 2017
Length: 2 minutes
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Overview

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.

Author Details

Author Details

Gaddis, John Lewis

JOHN LEWIS GADDIS is an internationally renowned historian of the cold war. He has written extensively on the subject, including "We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History" and "The United States and the Origins of the World War, 1941-1947". Gaddis is on the advisory board of the Cold War International History Project. A senior fellow of the Hoover Institution from 2000 to 2002, he served as a consultant on the CNN television documentary "Cold War." Gaddis resides in Connecticut.