Past Imperfect by Peter Charles Hoffer
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Past Imperfect
By Peter Charles Hoffer

Past Imperfect

Facts, Fictions, Fraud American History from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, Bellesiles, Ellis, and Goodwin

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Format: Paperback

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Past Imperfect by Peter Charles Hoffer

Book Description

Woodrow Wilson, a practicing academic historian before he took to politics, defined the importance of history: "A nation which does not know what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today." He, like many men of his generation, wanted to impose a version of America's founding identity: it was a land of the free and a home of the brave. But not the braves. Or the slaves. Or the disenfranchised women. So the history of Wilson's generation omitted a significant proportion of the population in favor of a perspective that was predominantly white, male and Protestant. That flaw would become a fissure and eventually a schism. A new history arose which, written in part by radicals and liberals, had little use for the noble and the heroic, and that rankled many who wanted a celebratory rather than a critical history. To this combustible mixture of elements was added the flame of public debate. History in the 1990s was a minefield of competing passions, political views and prejudices. It was dangerous ground, and, at the end of the decade, four of the nation's most respected and popular historians were almost destroyed by it: Michael Bellesiles, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Ambrose and Joseph Ellis. This is their story, set against the wider narrative of the writing of America's history. It may be, as Flaubert put it, that "Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times." To which he could have added: falsify, plagiarize and politicize, because that's the other story of America's history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781586484453
ISBN-10: 1586484451
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: PublicAffairs,U.S.
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 12-Jun-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Peter Charles Hoffer

Federal Courts by Peter Charles Hoffer Federal Courts, Hardback (April 2016)

The Federal Courts is a history of the federal courts system, its personnel, case law, and its relations with the other branches of the federal government and with state government, from the drafting of the constitution to the modern era.

Clio Among the Muses by Peter Charles Hoffer Clio Among the Muses, Hardback (December 2013)

will capture the attention of everyone who cares about the study of history.

Historians' Paradox by Peter Charles Hoffer Historians' Paradox, Paperback (August 2010)

Proposes a practical, workable philosophy of history for our times, one that is robust and realistic

Sensory Worlds in Early America by Peter Charles Hoffer Sensory Worlds in Early America, Paperback (February 2006)

Imaginatively conceived, deeply informed, and elegantly written, Sensory Worlds of Early America convincingly establishes sensory experience as a legitimate object of historical inquiry and vividly brings America's colonial era to life.

» View all books by Peter Charles Hoffer

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Author Biography - Peter Charles Hoffer

Peter Charles Hoffer is professor of history at the University of Georgia. He is a member of the American Historical Association's professional division, which audits the standards of academic historians' work. The author of many books of academic history, he was also invited to advise the AHA on plagiarism. He lives in Georgia.

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