Other pasts, different presents, alternative futures / Jeremy Black

By: Black, JeremyPublisher: Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015Description: xiii, 236 pISBN: 9780253017048Subject(s): Imaginary histories | History | Contingency (Philosophy) | Agent (Philosophy) | HistoryDDC classification: 900 Online resources: Click here to access online
Contents:
A personal note on life and times -- Types of history -- Power and the struggle for imperial mastery -- The West and the rest -- Britain and France, 1688-1815 -- Counterfactualism in military history -- Into the future -- Skepticism and the historian -- Conclusions -- Postscript.
Scope and content: "What if there had been no World War I or no Russian Revolution? What if Napoleon had won at Waterloo in 1815, or if Martin Luther had not nailed his complaints to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517, or if the South had won the American Civil War? The questioning of apparent certainties or 'known knowns' can be fascinating and, indeed, 'What if?' books are very popular. However, this speculative approach, known as counterfactualism, has had limited impact in academic histories, historiography, and the teaching of historical methods. In this book, Jeremy Black offers a short guide to the subject, one that is designed to argue its value as a tool for public and academe alike. Black focuses on the role of counterfactualism in demonstrating the part of contingency, and thus human agency, in history, and the salutary critique the approach offers to determinist accounts of past, present, and future"--Provided by publisher.
List(s) this item appears in: New Additions March-April 2019
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Books Books Mahatma Gandhi University Library
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900 Q5 (Browse shelf) Available 59334
Total holds: 0

Includes bibliographical references (pages 209-230) and index.

A personal note on life and times -- Types of history -- Power and the struggle for imperial mastery -- The West and the rest -- Britain and France, 1688-1815 -- Counterfactualism in military history -- Into the future -- Skepticism and the historian -- Conclusions -- Postscript.

"What if there had been no World War I or no Russian Revolution? What if Napoleon had won at Waterloo in 1815, or if Martin Luther had not nailed his complaints to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517, or if the South had won the American Civil War? The questioning of apparent certainties or 'known knowns' can be fascinating and, indeed, 'What if?' books are very popular. However, this speculative approach, known as counterfactualism, has had limited impact in academic histories, historiography, and the teaching of historical methods. In this book, Jeremy Black offers a short guide to the subject, one that is designed to argue its value as a tool for public and academe alike. Black focuses on the role of counterfactualism in demonstrating the part of contingency, and thus human agency, in history, and the salutary critique the approach offers to determinist accounts of past, present, and future"--Provided by publisher.

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