Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
Given that there might be some interest in how historians view the past -- or at least how one does, here are two reviews that mention the new Gordon Wood book, THE PURPOSE OF THE PAST, Reflections on the Uses of History:
Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
Jill Lepore, The New Yorker
The Lepore article addresses an issue that might be considered quite germane to the writing of motor sport history....
I deliberately did a bit of "compare and contrast" with the Jill Lepore and Jonathan Yardley pieces. I am a great admirer of Yardley, the highlight of the weekend usually being reading his column -- and that of Michael Dirda -- in the Books section of The Washington Post. I thought the Lepore article interesting, but in a very different sense than the Yardley review. I think some need to realize that Lepore was approaching history and fiction from a point of view that was intended to raise a few hackles. One need not to agree or accept what the author is writing to appreciate some of the points being raised or inferred. I have long held that History as we currently know and define it, was an invention created by -- for lack of a better term -- those Western story-tellers who shifted the narrative line, if you will. If you approach Lepore's article as an essay by a critic that provides a few thoughts that when compared and contrasted with the thoughts of Wood and Yardley provides another level of insight in the nature of history, you will have spent your time doing that rather than plunking your butt in front of the Electronic Lobotomy. At least that is my rationalization for reading such material. THE PURPOSE OF THE PAST, Reflections on the Uses of History
, has proven to be as good as advertised. I made the decision to squeeze it into my Reading List despite there being a little less flexibility in my reading than usual. In the anticipation of a possible/probable rotation back to SWA -- Iraq this time versus a split twix there and Kuwait as last time -- this summer (although nothing is definite at this point) as part of an advisory team, I have been focusing on reading/re-reading books such as The Prize
, The Assassin's Gate
, and other books and materials on COIN, Arabic culture, and so forth to get my mindset pointed in the right direction for what I might be doing this time if I return. The essays in the Wood book are great. I was surprised to an extent at how many of them I had already read, but there were several I had not read before which made me do some thinking.
Oh, the Jack Sears book by Graham Gauld arrived the other day. I have not had much of an opportunity to look at it, unfortunately. The same can be said for about a dozen other new books stacked on the floor.