The Historian's Toolbox : A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History book cover
3rd Edition

The Historian's Toolbox
A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History

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ISBN 9780765633279
Published January 15, 2012 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Written in an engaging and entertaining style, this widely-used how-to guide introduces readers to the theory, craft, and methods of history and provides a series of tools to help them research and understand the past.

Part I is a stimulating, philosophical introduction to the key elements of history--evidence, narrative, and judgment--that explores how the study and concepts of history have evolved over the centuries.

Part II guides readers through the workshop of history. Unlocking the historian's toolbox, the chapters here describe the tricks of the trade, with concrete examples of how to do history. The tools include documents, primary and secondary sources, maps, arguments, bibliographies, chronologies, and many others. This section also covers professional ethics and controversial issues, such as plagiarism, historical hoaxes, and conspiracy theories.

Part III addresses the relevance of the study of history in today's fast-paced world. The chapters here will resonate with a new generation of readers: on everyday history, oral history, material culture, public history, event analysis, and historical research on the Internet. This Part also includes two new chapters for this edition. "GIS and CSI" examines the use of geographic information systems and the science of forensics in discovering and seeing the patterns of the past. "Too Much Information" treats the issue of information overload, glut, fatigue, and anxiety, while giving the reader meaningful signals that can benefit the study and craft of history.

A new epilogue for this edition argues for the persistence of history as a useful and critically important way to understand the world despite the information deluge.

Table of Contents

History as Fun

Part I: The Craft of History

1. The Past

2. Story

3. History

4. Metahistory

5. Antihistory

6. The Present

7. The Future

Part II: The Tools of History

8. Doing History: An Overview

9. Sources and Evidence

10. Credit and Acknowledgment

11. Narrative and Explanation

12. Interpretation

13. Speculation

Part III: The Relevance of History

14. Everyday History

15. Oral History

16. Material Culture

17. Public History

18. Event Analysis

19. New Tools: GIS and CSI

20. History on the Internet

21. TMI: Too Much Information

22. Epilogue: The Persistence of History


Selected Bibliography


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Robert C. Williams is Vail Professor of History and Dean of Faculty Emeritus at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, and a founding board member of History Associates Incorporated.. He is the author of numerous books and articles in modern Russian, American, and European history, including The Forensic Historian, Klaus Fuchs: Atom Spy, and Ruling Russian Eurasia: Khans, Clans, and Tsars.