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Imagined Histories

This collection of essays by twenty-one distinguished American historians reflects on a peculiarly American way of imagining the past. At a time when history-writing has changed dramatically, the authors discuss the birth and evolution of historiography in this country, from its origins in the late nineteenth century through its present, more cosmopolitan character.

In the book's first part, concerning recent historiography, are chapters on exceptionalism, gender, economic history, social theory, race, and immigration and multiculturalism. Authors are Daniel Rodgers, Linda Kerber, Naomi Lamoreaux, Dorothy Ross, Thomas Holt, and Philip Gleason. The three American centuries are discussed in the second part, with chapters by Gordon Wood, George Fredrickson, and James Patterson. The third part is a chronological survey of non-American histories, including that of Western civilization, ancient history, the middle ages, early modern and modern Europe, Russia, and Asia. Contributors are Eugen Weber, Richard Saller, Gabrielle Spiegel, Anthony Molho, Philip Benedict, Richard Kagan, Keith Baker, Joseph Zizak, Volker Berghahn, Charles Maier, Martin Malia, and Carol Gluck.

Together, these scholars reveal the unique perspective American historians have brought to the past of their own nation as well as that of the world. Formerly writing from a conviction that America had a singular destiny, American historians have gradually come to share viewpoints of historians in other countries about which they write. The result is the virtual disappearance of what was a distinctive American voice. That voice is the subject of this book.

Product Details

Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction3Ch. 1Exceptionalism21Ch. 2Gender41Ch. 3Economic History and the Cliometric Revolution59Ch. 4The New and Newer Histories: Social Theory and Historiography in an American Key85Ch. 5Explaining Racism in American History107Ch. 6Crevecoeur's Question: Historical Writing on Immigration, Ethnicity, and National Identity120Ch. 7The Relevance and Irrelevance of American Colonial History144Ch. 8Nineteenth-Century American History164Ch. 9Americans and the Writing of Twentieth-Century United States History185Ch. 10Western Civilization206Ch. 11American Classical Historiography222Ch. 12In the Mirror's Eye The Writing of Medieval History in America238Ch. 13The Italian Renaissance, Made in the USA263Ch. 14Between Whig Traditions and New Histories: American Historical Writing about Reformation and Early Modern Europe295Ch. 15Prescott's Paradigm American Historical Scholarship and the Decline of Spain324Ch. 16The American Historiography of the French Revolution349Ch. 17Modern Europe in American Historical Writing393Ch. 18Clio in Tauris American Historiography on Russia415Ch. 19House of Mirrors American History-Writing on Japan434List of Contributors455Index459

About the Author

Anthony Molho is the David Herlihy University Professor and Professor of History at Brown University. He is the author of Marriage Alliance in Late Medieval Florence (1994) and coeditor of City-States in Classical Antiquity and Medieval Italy (1992). Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History at Brown University. His books include The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969) and The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992).

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