Synopses & Reviews
For more than sixty years, John Lukacs has been writing, teaching, and reading about the past. In this inspired volume, he turns his attention to the future. Throughout The Future of History
, Lukacs reflects on his discipline, eloquently arguing that the writing and teaching of history are literary rather than scientific, comprising knowledge that is neither wholly objective nor subjective. History at its best, he contends, is personal and participatory.
Despite a recently unprecedented appetite for history among the general public, as evidenced by history television program ratings, sales of popular history books, and increased participation in local historical societies, Lukacs believes that the historical profession is in a state of disarray. He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education, matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students. He reviews a series of short-lived fads within the profession that have weakened the fundamentals of the field. In looking for a way forward, Lukacs explores the critical relationships between history and literature, including ways in which novelists have contributed to historical understanding. Through this startling and enlightening work, readers will understand Lukacs's assertion that "everything has its history, including history" and that history itself has a future, since everything we know comes from the past.
"I consider John Lukacs one of the outstanding historians of the generation and, indeed, of our time."--Jacques Barzun -- Menahem Pressler
"We are in the presence of one of the most powerful, as well as one of the most learned, minds of the century."--Conor Cruise OBrien -- Jacques Barzun
"There is no one who has looked at subject[s] as broadly, sensitively, and deeply...This is what gives all of [Lukacss] works their long-term value."--George F. Kennan -- Conor Cruise O'Brien
"No historian of the Second World War has John Lukacss range, acuteness, intuition."--Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- George F. Kennan
"Mr. Lukacs is one of the more incisive historians of the twentieth century."--Washington Times -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"A brilliant and penetrating analysis of the present and future of history by one of our wisest historians and philosophers of history, a work that should be read by everyone interested in history in the twenty-first century."--Stanley G. Payne, author of Franco and Hitler: Spain, Germany, and World War II
-- Washington Times
“In the course of the last six decades, John Lukacs has published more than thirty learned, witty, controversial tomes and innumerable articles and reviews – nearly all of them contributions to the study of modern European and American history, and many of them laced with striking reflections on the present discontents. In this slim, gracefully written volume, this renowned historian turns from tracing, analyzing, and assessing the significance of developments past to ruminating on the present state of historical scholarship and pondering its prospects. Composed in a conversational style reminding one of what it originally meant to pen an essay, The Future of History
will be treasured by readers graced with a speculative cast of mind and apt to take delight in the company of a thoughtful and erudite provocateur.”--Paul A. Rahe, author of Soft Despotism, Democracys Drift
-- Stanley Payne
"These personal reflections on the nature of history and historical consciousness, the fruit of a long productive career of an historian who never shrank from big subjects and controversial questions, will provoke, stimulate and enlighten readers. Its central thesis, that history is and should remain literature, conveying meaning like great novels more through insight and understanding than by factual narration, is surely worth pondering."--Paul Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848
-- Paul A. Rahe
This compelling book is a deeply informed reflection on the nature of historical and scientific knowledge. Renowned historian Juhn Lukacs asserts that now, even at the end of the modern age, our understanding of the universe is based on what we fallible human beings have imagined and defined in a historical continuum; it is religion that is the source of the highest form of knowledge.
At the End of an Age is a deeply informed and rewarding reflection on the nature of historical and scientific knowledge. Of extraordinary philosophical, religious, and historical scope, it is the product of a great historian's lifetime of thought on the subject of his discipline and the human condition. While running counter to most of the accepted ideas and doctrines of our time, it offers a compelling framework for understanding history, science, and man's capacity for self-knowledge.
In this work, John Lukacs describes how we in the Western world have now been living through the ending of an entire historical age that began in Western Europe about five hundred years ago. Unlike people during the ending of the Middle Ages or the Roman empire, we can know where we are. But how and what is it that we know?
In John Lukacs's view, there is no science apart from scientists, and all of "Science," including our view of the universe, is a human creation, imagined and defined by fallible human beings in a historical continuum. This radical and reactionary assertion--in its way a summa of the author's thinking, expressed here and there in many of his previous twenty-odd books--leads to his fundamental assertion that, contrary to all existing cosmological doctrines and theories, it is this earth which is the very center of the universe--the only universe we know and can know.
John Lukacs asserts that now, even at the end of the modern age, our understanding of the universe is based on what we fallible human beings have imagined and defined in a historical continuum; it is religion that is the source of the highest form of knowledge.
- Selected by Choice as a 2003 Outstanding Academic Title
About the Author
John Lukacs is the author of some thirty books of history, including the acclaimed Five Days in London and, most recently, The Legacy of the Second World War.