What is History

Essay by MarkCampbell96 November 2014

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Review of What is History by Edward Hallet Carr

Submitted by

Mark John Stewart Campbell

Student Code W14038527

Submitted to

Student Advice and Support Centre

Northumbria University Newcastle

As part of the requirements for the assignment due for module course titled

History BA (Hons)

HI 0412 Making History

For historians, What is History? has been contemplated as one of the greatest historical books published in Britain within twentieth century. When studying Carr's book it is clear to see that the central ideas in the book holds today's primary thinking on British history. I postulate that the key theme in What is History? lies in its refusal for historians to second think historical practice. This failure has been influential in rationalising the epistemologically conservative historical thinking that pervades among British historians today according to John Tosh.

John Tosh, in the The Pursuit of History summaries Carr's book as "still unsurpassed as a stimulating and provocative statement by a radically inclined scholar". Keith Jenkins, suggesting that, along with Geoffrey Elton's The Practice of History both texts are still popularly seen as "'essential introductions' to the 'history question"' Therefore, according to Tosh and Jenkins, we remain, in Britain at least, in a lively dialogue with What is History? as a result of the position Carr took on the nature of his own personal historical knowledge.

.From the beginning of Carr's What is History? it is clear to see that Carr evokes a strong radicalise tone throughout his book. Michael Stanford goes deep into explaining this radicalism saying that Carr "insisted that the historian cannot divorce himself from the outlook and interests of his age." I believe Stanford summaries Carr's response to the question "What is History?"' as a case of the historian and his facts meet...