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The History Man

Richard J Evans's book is not so much a defence of history as of one school (left, populist, socially conscious) against another (conservative, elitist, high political)

By Daniel Johnson   November 1997

Does history need defending? And is that the same as defending historians? Richard J Evans, the new professor of modern history at Cambridge, is sure that it is and has written a book to vindicate both his vocation and his profession. In Defence of History is at once a primer and a polemic. It is intended to replace the classic works by EH Carr (What is History?) and GR Elton (The Practice of History) which have been used to introduce sixth-formers and undergraduates to the subject for a generation. Evans has largely succeeded in this aim. Although his prose lacks…

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