Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History

John Clive, Author, Jane Garrett, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $27.5 (334p) ISBN 978-0-394-48953-7
In Clive's reckoning, Thomas Carlyle was ``not primarily a historian,'' but a self-appointed prophet and sage whose hero-worship tinged his Frederick the Great , Hitler's favorite book. The theme of these erudite essays by a Harvard professor is that great historians' personal crises and childhood influences molded the way they wrote and the strategies they employed to give their writing its staying power. Edward Gibbon, presented here as a great wit--which is how his contemporaries viewed him--used sexual innuendo and sneers at religion to win over readers of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to his point of view. Thomas Macaulay, a habitual daydreamer, draped his narratives over a scaffold of seemingly haphazard anecdotes. Clive ( Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian ) also probes ``enlightened conservative'' Alexis de Tocqueville and Jacob Burckhardt, Swiss critic of the modern nation-state, among others. History Book Club alternate. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 334 pages - 978-0-395-56755-5
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