The Future of History John Lukacs

Publication date:
01 May 2012
Yale University Press
192 pages: 197 x 127mm
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For more 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, eloquently 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 unprecedented 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 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' assertion that "everything has its history, including history" and that history itself has a future, since everything we know comes from the past.

John Lukacs is the author of some thirty books of history, including the acclaimed Five Days in London and, most recently, The Legacy of the Second World War.

"We are in the presence of one of the most powerful, as well as one of the most learned, minds of the century." Conor Cruise O'Brien

"I consider John Lukacs one of the outstanding historians of the generation and, indeed of our time." Jacques Barzun

"There is no one who has looked at his subject as broadly, sensitively, and deeply... This is what gives all of Lukacs's works their long-term value." George F. Kennan

"No historian of the Second World War has John Lukacs's range, acuteness, intuition." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

"Mr. Lukacs is one of the more incisive historians of the twentieth century." Washington Times