Student's Guide to the Study of History

Student's Guide to the Study of History

ISI Student Guides to the Major Disciplines

by John Lukacs
Trade Paperback, 50 pages
List Price: $8.00 Sale Price: $6.80

John Lukacs is nothing if not witty and affable. In fact, he's much more than that—A Student's Guide to the Study of History shows a man who knows his topic almost interminably well, and who understands the telos behind man's advancement through the ages. A staunch Roman Catholic, Lukacs takes a high view of the historical reliability of the Bible, a low view of professional historians bent on parading their own status, and a lovably paradoxical view of the precise nature of historical inquiry.

There is no difference, he claims, between a so-called "historical person" and a "non-historical person," since both provide knowledge of the past in the form of various kinds of records. To use his illustration, your grandmother is just as historical as Dwight Eisenhower, having lived in a past time and bringing with her a whole passel of knowledge and experiences. The act of the historian isn't primarily to organize the major bullet points, then, but to construct an understanding of the past based on available evidence.

Students shouldn't expect an overview of world history from this guide, nor many hard facts or names and dates. Lukacs wants to orient his readers toward a discipline, to show them how to study history. This is as much philosophy as it is history in many ways, though the author avoids abstruse arguments or specialized jargon. Instead, he proves that anyone can be (and should be) an historian, and begins the task of equipping them for just such an experience.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Summary An introduction to historiography—the study of history—rather than to history itself.

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