26

Sep

2014

A New Way to Think About History

 

The study of history has changed. Instead of examining centuries and millennia past and studying huge swathes of global history, the discipline has gotten microscopic, rarely tackling more than a few years or decades at a time.

The change has more dire implications than you’d think: Winston Churchill’s maxim that “the longer you look back the further you can see forward” has never held truer. With the speed of today’s news, we rarely think farther back than the 24-hour news cycle, and hardly consider the world farther forward than in eight-year election cycles. When we’re asked to face a modern global crisis like climate change, with catastrophic implications for generations down the line, we’re left paralyzed.

David Armitage and Jo Guldi see this as a call to action. In The History Manifesto, these leading historians present the case for a new study of history—one that considers the long view of our global past with a mind toward a public future.

The book’s unique online forum allows you to join the conversation.

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