By John Burrow

ISBN-10: 0713993375

ISBN-13: 9780713993370

This remarkable booklet by means of one among Britain’s such a lot well known historians describes the highbrow influence that the research and attention of background has had within the Western international during the last 2,500 years.

Treating the perform of background now not as an remoted pursuit yet as a side of human society and an important a part of the tradition of Europe and the USA, John Burrow magnificently brings to lifestyles and explains the unique features present in the paintings of historians from the traditional Egyptians and Greeks to the current, together with Livy, Tacitus, Bede, Froissart, Clarendon, Gibbon, Macaulay, Michelet, Prescott and Parkman. the writer units out to not supply us the heritage of educational self-discipline yet a heritage of selections: the alternative of pasts, and the methods they've been demarcated, investigated, offered or even occasionally discovered from as they've got replaced in accordance with political, spiritual, cultural, and (often most vital) partisan and patriotic conditions. Burrow goals, besides, to alter our perceptions of the the most important turning issues within the background of historical past, permitting the tips that historians have had approximately either their very own instances and their founding civilizations to emerge with unforeseen freshness.

Burrow argues that the heritage of heritage is likely one of the finest methods we need to comprehend the previous. definitely, this quantity stands by myself in its ambition, scale and fascination.

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Extra info for A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century

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This is because fear makes every man want to do his best to find protection for his unarmed side in the shield of the man next to him on the right . The fault comes originally from the man on the extreme right of the front line, who is always trying to keep his own unarmed side away from the enemy, and his fear spreads to the others who follow his example. 71) I n such a remark the terror of phalanx warfare is vividly caught i n the exposition of a technical detail. For the modern reader, because the stylized element is not present and because civilians are involved, Thucydides' descriptions of sieges and the sacking of towns are perhaps more memorable than his battle scenes and dispel any n o t i o n that kinship among Greeks made their warfare any less pitiless.

The result was an unstable cat's cradle of alliances, obligations and resentments w h i c h had to be negotiated. Each stage of the fighting tended to add a fresh layer of complexity, of wrongs inflicted and undertakings unfulfilled. Hence, as i n the Balkans before the First W o r l d War, local insta­ bilities or changes of alliance, or the threat of them, sent shock waves though the chain of alliances t o the t w o great powers, neither of w h i c h could afford defections or the appearance of weakness, while both were subject to the temptations of fishing i n troubled waters.

1 9 2 - 2 0 0 ) , after giving the reader a k i n d of conducted tour of the city. The great wall I have described is the chief armour of the city; but there is a second one within it, hardly less strong though narrower. e. as divided by the river]: in one the royal palace surrounded by a wall of great strength, in the other the temple of Bel, the Babylonian Zeus. The temple is a square building, two furlongs 13 A HISTORY OF HISTORIES each way, with bronze gates, and was still in existence in my time; it has a solid central tower, one furlong square, with a second erected on top of it and then a third, and so on up to eight.

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