What is the New History?

What is the New History?

The thirteen essays in this volume were originally commissioned by the American Historical Association as a series of pamphlets to acquaint schoolteachers with the latest trends in historical writing about the United States. The contributors are well known and highly regarded specialists on various subfields of American history. Individual essays vary in the extent to which they attempt to synthesize recent scholarship in a comprehensive way. At one extreme, Sean Wilentz makes “the market revolution” the central and unifying theme of the period 1815 to 1848. At the less ambitious end of the spectrum James Shenton provides little more than a bibliographical essay on the recent scholarship concerning ethnicity and immigration. But the general quality of the essays is high; they will be of value not only to high school teachers and to general readers who wish to know what academic historians are currently doing but also to graduate students and professors of American history. Because most
university historians specialize in the subject matter of only one or two of the thirteen periods or topics covered, they will learn a great deal about what is occurring outside their own bailiwicks. As someone who has worked mostly on the nineteenth century, I found the essays on earlier and later periods especially illuminating.

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