How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History



A Deconstruction Of The Modern History Book As Artifact, How To Read A History Book Explains Who Writes History Books, How The Writers Are Trained, And Why They Write Them It Also Discusses Genre, Bias Political And Otherwise And How To Read History Books Between The Lines Written For Undergraduates, Intro Graduate Students And Anyone With An Informed Interest In The Subject, How To Read A History Book Demonstrates That, Rather Than Being Objects That Fall From The Sky, History Books Are Actually Socially Constructed Artifacts Reflecting All The Contradictions Of Modern Meritocratic Capitalism.How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History

Marshall Tillbrook Poe born December 29, 1961 is an American historian, writer, editor and founder of the New Books Network, an online collection of podcast interviews with a wide range of non fiction authors He has taught Russian, European, Eurasian and World history at various universities including Harvard, Columbia, University of Iowa, and, currently, the University of Massachusetts Amherst He has also taught courses on new media and online collaboration.Poe is the author or editor of a number of books on early modern Russia He has also published A History of Communications Media and Society from the Evolution of Speech to the Internet, a book that examines how various communications media shape social practices and values.In 2005, Poe founded the now defunct MemoryArchive, a universal wiki type archive of contemporary memoirs It encouraged people to contribute written accounts of their personal memories that would be part of a searchable, online database There he contributed numerous personal accounts of his own, from playing basketball with Barack Obama, to stumbling onto a crime scene of Dennis Rader s, the BTK serial killer.In 2006, Poe wrote an influential commentary on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, while serving as a writer, researcher and editor at The Atlantic magazine.

[BOOKS] ✴ How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History ✻ Marshall T. Poe – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History
  • Marshall T. Poe
  • 16 August 2017
  • 1780997299

10 thoughts on “How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History

  1. says:

    Right from the beginning, this book did not meet my expectations, but not necessarily in a bad way I was expecting the history of history books, how certain events are picked to put in history books, why others are left out politics I was expecting this to be about history textbooks and how what is in them and what isn t shapes what we know about history and how we define our past.That is not what this book is.Synopsis A deconstruction of the modern history book as artifact, How to Read a Right from the beginning, this book did not meet my expectations, but not necessarily in a bad way I was expecting the history of history books, how certain events are picked to put in history books, why others are left out politics I was expecting this to be about history textbooks and how what is in them and what isn t shapes what we know about history and how we define our past.That is not what this book is.Synopsis A deconstruction of the modern history book as artifact, How to Read a History Book explains who writes history books, how the writers are trained, and why they write them It also discusses genre, bias political and otherwise and how to read history books between the lines How to Read a History Book by Marshall T Poe is muchabout the process of researching and writing an academic, scholarly history book that, as the book states, no one besides other scholars will probably read This is not the WWII or Civil War book you are picking up at Barnes and Noble This is a book of years of research done by a graduate student that gets published so that graduate student now professor can get tenure But that s enough about what this book is and what it isn t Let s talk about how this book is.I found this book to be surprisingly interesting and I don t know exactly why The author shows us the process of how to put together a scholarly history book and he does this through telling the fictional story of Elizabeth Ranke She is a white, middle to upper class woman who we follow as she goes from recent high school graduate who loves history to college graduate to tenured college professor and even to her deathbed We follow Elizabeth through her struggles to get into the right schools, figuring out how to narrow her topic for her dissertation, and ultimately contemplating whether she did what she set out to do which was to give people a slice of what happened in the past Elizabeth s interests and ultimately the topic her whole career is centered around is women s history YAY Setting up what could have been a VERY dry topic this way is a genius move on the author s part I found this book engaging and interesting to read I was fully immersed in the story.I also appreciated seeing the full journey from Elizabeth applying to college to the moment of her death Her questioning her past work and even her dissertation that she worked so hard on is probably my favorite part I loved how she keeps questioning herself on what her purpose was in the scholarly history world She also keeps questioning the role of history and what it is That was really fascinating for me, especially as I think about what the role of writing is and how words can make a difference How her thoughts and questions are finally kind of answered on her deathbed could have been really cliche and poorly done but it didn t feel that way when I read it It felt like closure after following Elizabeth through so much of her life and it wrapped up some of the final questions she had on why history was so important.I will say I am very interested in history so that may account for how much I liked parts of this book, but I doubt many people who aren t even a little interested in history would pick this up anyways.That is not to say there aren t any dry or boring or incredibly specific parts in this book that will make your eyes slowly start to shut Unless you re going to write one of these books, or for some reason wanted to know how a scholarly history book is written, some of the process that is described is in no way interesting I appreciate the author using the fictional story of Elizabeth Ranke to help make itpalatable for a non scholar but it s not enough Putting together a book, researching and gathering sources, and trying to get it published is just not that captivating no matter how you try to write it I was kind of hoping for some kind of outside interaction, like Elizabeth gets a boyfriend girlfriend or we meet some of her friends or we see her engaging in some other activity besides working on her history book Even if it was just for a paragraph or two it would have made her character feel a littlereal There are times when it felt like Elizabeth is just the device to get the information out there I wanted her to go a little beyond that Yes, there were moments when we saw her drink too much or worry about how to pay for things or if she was doing the right thing, but it all felt like it was throwaway material This book is trying to be fiction and nonfiction at the same time but it doesn t take enough from the fiction world for it to actually work There needs to becharacter development with Elizabeth Or maybe we needthan just Elizabeth Bring in her advisorsgive themof a role Or add a friend or colleague of Elizabeth s whose journey is different than hers If you re going to use a fictional character to help inform the reader on what goes into the process of making a scholarly history book, give the character some depth Elizabeth needs somecomplexity.Overall, this is a decent book It takes a possibly boring topic and, by giving the reader a character to latch onto, makes it quite fascinating On a scale of 5 stars, I give this a solid 3 I wouldn t have a problem reading it again, but it could be better.How to Read a History Book The Hidden History of History comes out January 26th, 2018.Thank you, NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing Ltd Zero Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review

  2. says:

    A really absurd little book that doesn t rightly do what s advertised in the title but was surprisingly interesting none the less

  3. says:

    While reading, I kept wishing there was a similar book on post Soviet academia Still it s probably universally true thatthere s really only one time in a person s life in which you can easily convince him to die for his country or go to graduate school in history at about 22 years of ageEven though draft dodging probably tells you that even at this relatively gullible age at least one of those is not such an easy task to accomplish First off, the title of this book is somewhat misleadi While reading, I kept wishing there was a similar book on post Soviet academia Still it s probably universally true thatthere s really only one time in a person s life in which you can easily convince him to die for his country or go to graduate school in history at about 22 years of ageEven though draft dodging probably tells you that even at this relatively gullible age at least one of those is not such an easy task to accomplish First off, the title of this book is somewhat misleading since it sabout how your standard history book is written and the life of an average academic historian This is probably relevant to how you read if you re actually reading an academic work and want to know this background If you were hoping to find outabout ideology behind all of it and how historical narrative is constructed you should probably opt for Silencing the Past And if you just wanted your child to understand history better, well, I m sure there s a book for that even though I would say a documentary film would probably beuseful and fun The only punchline a teenager and the book is quite accessible without being condescending so it could be read by pretty much anyone would definitely remember is thatMonographs are not intended to be read, they are intended to advance the author s career within academiaNot particularly encouraging, this, and Poe does make sure to hammer down his points as faithful as he is to the maxim of tell em what you re going to tell em, tell em, and then tell em what you told em.Still, the writing is mostly lucid and witty, so you might find yourself finishing the book and enjoying it even though you never knew you had a particular interest in non existent average academic historian s woes Going for the portrait of the average has some other implications, though Poe has to generalize a lot and sometimes he unnecessarily simplifies, like when he says thatEvery modern book has an ISBN , which is simply not true even though most of them do and perhaps every book that matters to Poe does.But it was the last two chapters where my real rub with the book is When Poe goes into some watered down philosophizing about the meaning of it all, the narrator becomes barely distinguishable from the abstract liberal historian he s telling about So, when I read some snide remarks on how The Worker s Paradise basically came to life because poor people were greedy and dwelt on their resentment too much, I find it distasteful and almost insulting When I move on to find out that slavery was abolished in Slaveholderland because many do gooders had an epiphany and decided to fight for the well being of all people, it s entirely bankrupt of intelligence and doesn t look like it s been written by any half decent historian at all.Having said that, the good chapters outweigh the lame ones and I don t feel like I wasted my time

  4. says:

    This was a book that itself potentially could have been consigned to history, given its subject matter, yet the author turns it into an interesting three star read.For this andbook reviews, please follow my blog It s Good To Read The author is trying to show future academics the trials and tribulations they will face when setting out to write such a book This advice is primarily for academic writers, who are writing for a muchexpert and select and thereforecritical audien This was a book that itself potentially could have been consigned to history, given its subject matter, yet the author turns it into an interesting three star read.For this andbook reviews, please follow my blog It s Good To Read The author is trying to show future academics the trials and tribulations they will face when setting out to write such a book This advice is primarily for academic writers, who are writing for a muchexpert and select and thereforecritical audience, as opposed to those creating a mass market offering I think it also has something to offer thegeneral reader, who gets to look through the keyhole at the deliberative process.He takes the life story of Elizabeth Ranke, a fictional person, and follows her as she progresses through her academic career, from choosing her college through to professorial tenure, to her very last moments alive, seeing the choices she makes and those she doesn t , and why She eventually settles on feminism, and writes From Young Ladies to Wild Womyn as her dissertation The writing has been done by Chapter 3.The rest of the book deals with making a living as a history writer, writing to a pre determined structure or template, and generally uses Elizabeth to humanise the points he is making, e.g she cried when she read the acknowledgement to her parents We are told the measure of a history book is not just what it says, but how it says it.Throughout, she questions the viewpoints from which history is written, and her own role in history writing For example, she remembers an old college peer Russ Doubtless who was anything but a feminist back in the 60 s Would he have skewed the story according to his beliefs Did she write according to the German model specialised and original research , or did the writer affect the writing a historical version of Schrodinger s cat.For me, I would like to have seenof a struggle around what goes in v what gets left out, because as history gets told by the winners, I think it would have been an interesting moral dilemma for the character.Ultimately, this is a book about how to write an academic book, get it published, and use it to build a career in academia It is not nor intended to be a fiction story, so Elizabeth is very one dimensional, but that suits the purpose of the author Some of the detail may not be of interest to the average reader e.g the prescribed layout of such a book , but the author through Elizabeth does enough to keep interest from flagging.Thanks to the Author and NetGalley for providing a free copy for an honest review

  5. says:

    Marshall Poe is a historian of early modern Russia and of contemporary media networks, and he has taught at Harvard, the University of Iowa, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Unusually for an academic, Poe has also worked as a writer and editor at Atlantic Most recently he created the New Books Network, a consortium of podcasts intended to introduce the works of serious non fiction authors How to Read a History Book really does discuss the components of an academic monograph titles, Marshall Poe is a historian of early modern Russia and of contemporary media networks, and he has taught at Harvard, the University of Iowa, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Unusually for an academic, Poe has also worked as a writer and editor at Atlantic Most recently he created the New Books Network, a consortium of podcasts intended to introduce the works of serious non fiction authors How to Read a History Book really does discuss the components of an academic monograph titles, blurbs, epigraphs, introductions, indices, and so forth but Poe also describes the creation of history as a profession, the difference between university and trade publishers, and the relationship between fuzzy thinking and bad academic writing A considerable portion of the book treats the contemporary training of professional historians, including descriptions of seminars, dissertation research, and the requirements of job hunting Finally, Poe takes a stab at explaining both the value of history and the values he believes should be held by historians All these subjects Poe presents with a light touch and with a curious melange of cynicism and wistfulness, arranging them around the career of a fictional composite historian, Elizabeth Ranke The publisher, Zero Books, describes itself as on the left, but there is nothing particularly leftist about Poe s book Indeed, Poe makes jokes at leftist shibboleths, and the book could just as easily be used by the Religious Right to illustrate the philosophical aridity embraced by the secular elite

  6. says:

    This book introduces the reader in an easy and understandable way into the genre of history books Through fictional stories and examples, it becomes clear what difficulties historians encounter when writing such books It also details the function of key components of history books The book is valuable in giving readers tools to look at history books in acritical and reflective way This book is helpful for everyone who likes to read history books as well as students who want to have a d This book introduces the reader in an easy and understandable way into the genre of history books Through fictional stories and examples, it becomes clear what difficulties historians encounter when writing such books It also details the function of key components of history books The book is valuable in giving readers tools to look at history books in acritical and reflective way This book is helpful for everyone who likes to read history books as well as students who want to have a deeper, reflective insight into this genre

  7. says:

    How To Read A History Book is a clever look at how academic works, and a comment on the way we perceive documentation and history What stood out most to me about this book is the way I was able to reflect on my own academic work through the story shared here.And story was not what I expected at all The narrative structure of the book proved to be a positive surprise I would recommend this book to scholars, students, and anyone interested in reading about how what we know comes to be.

  8. says:

    This is really a very cynical view of what it takes to be a history professor Lots of behind the scenes stuff The last chapter, though, is way out of step with the rest of the book.Surprised that for someone writing a book about writing a book, there are plenty of editing mistakes due for do , chock for chalk , etc Also a revered Hebrew word.

  9. says:

    Short, Sweet, and magnificent I feel like every graduate student in history should be forced to read this as the first book in their historiography seminar It should also be handed to the family and friends of every student currently enrolled in a graduate program A fine biography of the history profession.

  10. says:

    A curate s egg The first chapter on the origins of history as a discipline is mediocre the second, third, and fourth chapters on the professional formation of academic historians are good the fifth chapter on the shape of a history book is mediocre and the sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters on the ethics and metaphysics of history are very bad.

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