review ç The Future of History



10 thoughts on “The Future of History

  1. says:

    I must admit that I am something of a sucker for short books by master thinkers of encyclopedic scope That's a good description of The Future of History by John Lukacs It's a dense meditation on the art and practice of history aligning it closely with literature than science that contains one especially stimulating chapter for me at least History and the NovelBut I'll get to that chapter in a moment First some uick observations and issues Lukacs wants to define history as we know it as something that sprang up in the 17th or 18th centuries along with a human self awareness that he refers to as interiority This is an observation that parallels to some degree Harold Bloom's contention that Shakespeare essentially invented the modern personality and put it on full display in his playsI find both these contentions odd Lukacs knows of course about Thucydides and Bloom knows about Catullus but each scholar is seeking to define a new phase in human experience and so each sets aside pretty good examples of historians and self reflective ironic literary personae that appeared on the human landscape thousands of years before their heroes of the modern In general Lukacs is writing a lament for what he calls the European or Bourgeois Age which he argues reuired disciplined well trained historical researchers and writers whose principal job has been to ferret out untruths and secondary job has been to assert truths about that which has slipped away from us on the river of timeHistory he says is always revisionist because it deals in a continuously evolving past that shapes and reshapes itself along with our perceptions of it But he notes that history is not taught as much as it used to be in high schools and colleges and that the first print run of a history book by a university press often is 500 copies Will we eventually lose interest in reading? Or the ability to read and reflect? Are we doomed to a future that will be defined by images not words? What will this do to the critical faculties of the human mind?These are pretty common concerns but Lukacs does note that trade publishers sell history books than novels that history books written by what he calls amateurs are often better than history books written by PhDs and that technology rather than making us materialistic in some ways is freeing us to wander about in a spiritual sort of wayExample I am sitting in my study in Arlington Virginia In a few minutes I will publish this review And people I don't know in places I've never visited will have the chance to read or ignore what I've written Why? Technology But the subject is history thought and books and neither you nor I will pay much attention to the technological procedures bringing us together What will interest us is Lukacs's provocationsNow the chapter on history and the novel It's full of wonderful uotes beginning with Every novel is a historical novel in one way or anotherLukacs point is that novelists often record social history better than historians do through accurate observation and that they often tease out of an age characters who while fictional define that age as well or better than actual historical figures Madame Bovary for instance But the novel is limited by or defined by class divisions in a given society That's what makes it a strong symbol of bourgeois consciousness And as classes melt slowly to be sure the novel has lost its way becoming too interior Ulysses for example or too exterior Norman Mailer's last novel attempting to write faction about Hitler's youthYou will have your own views on whether Lukacs makes a good case or not but he so at ease ranging over all of modern history and literature that you're likely to take him seriously His suggestion that the turn toward subjectivity Ulysses again strengthens poetry while it weakens fiction seems somehow right to me much as I admire Ulysses and don't share his uestioning attitude toward itThis book is only 177 pages It's well written but dense with erudite observations and citations Lukas having written than twenty books apologizes at the end for many historical scholars having ignored his work and not included it in their bibliographies or surveys of topical historical literature This is typical of him He's not really apologizing He's admitting that he's vain and shouldn't be overlooked And he's right


  2. says:

    This book was at times exceedingly dry and at other times deeply stimulating Just the musings at age 87 of a professional historian on what history is was and shall be It gets into all sorts of subtle distinctions that evaded me I must admit historianship historicity historiography This is the philosophy of history There are some interesting discussions on historical fiction poetry the novel and how history compares and contrasts with these forms He discusses the future of books and reading and the impact of technology on history We even delve into uantum physics with the idea of the act of observing and witnessing a event and how this act changes the event Just lots of deep thoughts that need to be read slowly and ruminated The author is a veritable Renaissance man with humorous wit even though he depracatingly dismisses his inadeuate knowledge of Greek and Latin He's one of those profs whom you'd never forget; probably get a C too but you'd learn


  3. says:

    A maverick but respected historian John Lukacs had a lot to say about his own profession and in the sunset of his life he gathered together his thoughts on the subject in this small but far from easy book His theme is the role of history and the historian at the end of a historical era the Modern Age Lukacs believed that modern Western civilization was something ualitatively different from its presumed forebears the Classical Age of Greece and Rome and the so called Middle Ages and that it lasted from roughly the late Renaissance to the end of the ‘short’ twentieth century which his colleague Eric Hobsbawm defined as having ended in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union Lukacs foresaw a period of decline and decay commencing in the twenty first century – though not necessarily a reversion to ‘barbarism’ as popularly defined because he thought technology would sustain itself even as civilization declined and fell So far events appear to be proving him rightThis is a book of concentrated wisdom gnomic and highly uotable It is often eye opening as when for example Lukacs writes thatFlaubert’s Sentimental Education is historical than its near contemporary War and Peace Flaubert’s portrait of 1848 is historically speaking complex and meaningful than Tolstoy’s of 1812 because Flaubert describes how people thought and felt at that time; his novel abounds with descriptions of changing sensitivities of mutations of opinions and transformations of attitudes As the above suggests much of The Future of History is concerned with the relationship of history to literature Lukacs insists that historians should be readers first writers second and historians in a professional sense third He uotes with approval Jacob Burckhardt’s advice to students of history bisogna saper leggere – ‘you must learn how to read’ This championship of non professional historical scholarship and authorship runs right through the book from his praise for de Toueville to his contempt for the professional historians who failed to discern or describe the rise of American conservatism in the late twentieth century Since I am a writer of historical articles and books but no historian it gives me great pleasure to read that ‘in the twenty first century the best the greatest writers of history may not be certified professionals but erudite and imaginative “amateurs”’This is in keeping with Lukacs’s view that history is a literary genre and a creative endeavour rather than a strictly empirical pursuit Yet he is insistent that a historian’s task is above all to search for truth and he champions diligent research using original sources as much as possible He is refreshingly sceptical that such a thing as ‘scientific’ history can exist and contemptuous of what he calls ‘historical fads’ such as social psychological or feminist history which he regards as inevitably prejudiced and bound therefore to produce false results The Future of History is a book best taken in small doses one or two pages at a time Read it with a pencil in hand and mark the bits you find uotable or interesting because you are sure to want to return to them later even perhaps especially if you disagree with them


  4. says:

    The one positive thing I can say about this book it's short so the reader's suffering ends uickly


  5. says:

    John Lukacs has written a challenging and enlightening book that examines the role of history in our thinking culture and subconscious I find this one of the most interesting books I've ever had the opportunity of reading It is really an examination of how we as individuals like to think about our world and what we believe it to be A sense of the past and some kind of interest in it will always exist Professor Lukacs' book looks at the role that history and historians play in how our societies come to regard themselves What I find most compelling is The Future of History is also a study of leadership and how leaders use ideas about the past in order to create the present and a perception of the future where they want to go This is a book worth reading especially in the light of what is going on in our world today and the spinning of facts to arrive at political truths


  6. says:

    John Lukacs 1924 2019 was an elderly Hungarian born American historian who wrote numerous books about Europe during the Second World War as well as two prior volumes treating the philosophy of history In this short somewhat pessimistic volume perhaps “long essay” would be a better description Lukacs criticizes among other things the pandering of the historical profession to contemporary intellectual fads The author’s comprehensive learning is everywhere evident as he ranges through nineteenth century historical and literary works for his illustrations; and the persistent reader will find insights throughoutUnfortunately Lukacs takes pleasure in presenting his notions in an idiosyncratic style—the privilege of learned old men perhaps but not the best way to engage students of history Below are some sentences that may allow the prospective reader to judge for himself“We cannot know much about the future save projecting what we can see at present but so much of that will not come about Some of it will Foresight is something else than prophecy foresight depends on a serious sometimes inspired knowledge and understanding of some things in the past Through this some of us may know that this or that will not happen; but also that this or that lo and behold might” 139 40“Anyhow it is arguable and rather than less evident that by the beginning of the twenty first century much of an age that began about five centuries ago has passed And also that the twentieth was an especially transient century of course every century is transient in some ways but the twentieth was historically thinking and speaking a short century too seventy five years long from 1914 to 1989 marked by two gigantic world wars and then the so called Cold War was but a conseuence of the Second No reason here to argue further what is or should be obvious” 161 62


  7. says:

    The writing of history should be a form of literature and efforts to cast it as a social science have led nowhere useful argues the veteran Hungarian American historian in this short book on his craft He seems confident that the tide has turned against especially Marxist theoretical approaches to the discipline and is happy to report that public interest in the past is now greater than ever before Internet searches on genealogy now rank second only to pornography searches he says Nonetheless he worries that “pictorial” media TV movies youtube are fogging the mind Erudite and grumpy by turns it is a stimulating if not always convincing read with some interesting reflections on the history of historiography


  8. says:

    This really is one of the strangest books that I have ever read It was not overtly bad but undoubtedly composed in the most disorderly manner with no introduction statement of purpose back matter or anything of the sort and employs a novel dialogue method of expression very informal using lots of contractions and basic speech Instead of a formal structured work we get one raw ramble from start to finish While I cannot say that I think that this approach compensates for the lack of clarity I must say that it is something that I have not encountered before and may perhaps be an effective medium of expression used correctly Mr Lukacs unfortunately did not present himself very clearly in my humble opinion Despite this poor lack of clarity or purpose there are a number of very fascinating points in themselves presented within; like a very poorly woven tapestry comprised of fine materials The future of the profession of history seems to be the cause of this work and many things are considered concerning the nature of history its inseparability from literature the increasing appetite for history a brief look at historiography and attitudes taken concerning how history is apprehended and indeed there are many fine things presented within but it is just a mess The whole book is just so sloppy and disorganized that though I consider it worthwhile to read through because there are many good points presented in my opinion and all the so because history is important it still cannot be overlooked that this is poor presentation I am not by any means suggesting that I could write a better book but the judgment is still made if with a stance of humility Yet in spite of all of this this strangeness somehow makes it attractive; uniue in many regards despite the obvious oddity of it and defiance of conventional standards of the uality of modern publications Is this the wisdom of an aged and experienced historian trapped in the poor elouence of incessant ramblings? I think so Yet wisdom and insight lies therein all the same I think that it is worth the read especially due to the importance of the subject matter and the shortness of the work but wow is it weird


  9. says:

    Description Despite a recently unprecedented appetite for history among the general public as evidenced by history television program ratings sales of popular history books and increased participation in local historical societies Lukacs believes that the historical profession is in a state of disarray He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students He reviews a series of short lived fads within the profession that have weakened the fundamentals of the field In looking for a way forward Lukacs explores the critical relationships between history and literature including ways in which novelists have contributed to historical understanding Through this startling and enlightening work readers will understand Lukacs's assertion that everything has its history including history and that history itself has a future since everything we know comes from the pastNo matter how many parallels with incidents in the past new 'history' such as Putin wanting to reverse the clock to those good old soviet days never fail to shock anew So long as there are humans there will be new breeds of history being made


  10. says:

    Recently Dr Michael Haykin introduced our Church History class to author and historian John Lukacs I'm glad he did I've yet to read any of his actual books of history Five Days in London The Legacy of the Second War and thirty others but I thoroughly enjoyed this little volume where he reflects on his profession both its past and future and especially on the need to see the teaching and writing of history as literature It's a great book that captures the wisdom of a seasoned scholar


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The Future of History

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Precedented appetite for history among the general public as evidenced by history television programme ratings sales of popular history books and increased participation in local historical societies Lukacs believes that the historical profession is in a state of disarray He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students He reviews a series of short lived fads within th. John Lukacs A Faint Cold Fear (Grant County, public as evidenced by history television Sweet Mandarin programme ratings sales of Sweet Mandarin: The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and their Journey from East to West popular history books and increased The Lost Heart of Asia participation in local historical societies Lukacs believes that the historical The Secret Life And Brutal Death Of Mamie Thurman profession is in a state of disarray He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students He reviews a series of short lived fads within th. John Lukacs

read ½ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Î John Lukacs

For than sixty years John Lukacs has been writing teaching and reading about the past In this inspired volume he turns his attention to the future Throughout The Future of History Lukacs reflects on his discipline elouently arguing that the writing and teaching of history are literary rather than scientific comprising knowledge that is neither wholly objective nor subjective History at its best he contends is personal and participatory Despite a recently un. A maverick b Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything past In this inspired volume he turns his attention to the future Throughout The Future of History Lukacs reflects on his discipline elouently arguing that the writing and teaching of history are literary rather than scientific comprising knowledge that is neither wholly objective nor subjective History at its best he contends is Discordia personal and Stage Mum participatory Despite a recently un. A maverick b

John Lukacs Î 9 summary

E profession that have weakened the fundamentals of the field In looking for a way forward Lukacs explores the critical relationships between history and literature including ways in which novelists have contributed to historical understanding Through this startling and enlightening work readers will understand Lukacs' assertion that everything has its history including history and that history itself has a future since everything we know comes from the pas. Description