Synopses & Reviews
E. H. Carr's What Is History?, a classic introduction to the field that has held sway for a generation, may now give way to a worthy successor. In his compact, spirited survey, Richard Evans shows us how historians manage to extract meaning from the recalcitrant past. To materials that are frustratingly meager, or overwhelmingly profuse, they bring an array of tools that range from agreed-upon rules of documentation and powerful computer models to the skilled investigator's sudden insight, all employed with the aim of reconstructing a verifiable, usable past. Grounded in practice, Evans's defense of history as a distinctive type of knowledge will stand as "essential reading for coming generations" (Keith Thomas in New Statesman and Society).