Thinking Back: The Perils of Writing History

C. Vann Woodward, Author Louisiana State University Press $15.95 (158p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1304-2
An eminent Southerner reflects on his development as a historian, describes his encounters with ideas and fellow practitioners, reveals how he came to write his major books, and discusses their critical reception and his reaction to criticism. Variously charged wtih being a one-time activist, part-time moralist, full-time presentist, addicted ironist, and (with Reinhold Niebuhr and George Kennan) a liberal realist, Woodward finds that ""correction of error and the alteration of viewpoint are neither surprising nor terribly embarrassing.'' In his opinion, historians have obligations to the present as well as to the past they study. How events happen can be as important as why. Intrigues, plots and hopes are as revealing about the meaning of an event as disclosure of ``the determining factor.'' For anyone interested in how a historian works and how perceived ``truths'' become the launching pad for oncoming generations of revisionists, this short book will be required and pleasurable reading. (February 28)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
Paperback - 158 pages - 978-0-8071-1377-6
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