It was the growing professionalisation of history in the 20th century that did for the likes of Macaulay and Trevelyan. In the search for scientific accuracy and methodological sophistication, historians began to cut themselves off from the wider reading public. The exhilaration caused by the advent of the computer, with its ability to crunch numbers on a scale hitherto undreamt of, led to a growing output of increasingly technical work, comprehensible only to the initiated.
And the increasing number of university-based historians found that, with more or less the same amount of history to go around as before, to conduct original research meant focusing on smaller and smaller subjects. In the s and s, the ideas that excited the wider reading public were derived above all from the social sciences. Marxism, sociology, psychology and similarly present-oriented systems of ideas provided the grand narratives and sweeping perspectives that people required to make sense of the social and political world around them, from historical materialism to modernisation theory.
Novelists and fiction writers shared this orientation towards the present, with a whole range of writers from Kingsley Amis to Iris Murdoch, John Updike to Alison Lurie writing about the societies they lived in and generally avoiding the past. The power of Zadie Smith's White Teeth derives not least from its depiction of the impact of the past on the present day. Consider television, too.
A few years ago, producers seemed to think of history as something you found in old newsreels and talked to old people about. If it hadn't been captured in a moving image, it wasn't worth doing. Documentary series such as Lawrence Rees's superb The Nazis: a warning from history , or his somewhat more uneven sequel about the Second World War on the Eastern Front, have continued in this vein.
But more recently television has discovered the previous millennia of human history, not to mention the aeons before human beings were around.
Taylor claimed the best solution would be for an "armed push" by the Irish nationalists to drive out the one million Ulster Protestants from Ireland. Critics of Taylor, nevertheless, need to be aware that the context in which he wrote provided an underlying motive for his scepticism. Today, students in these same lands can become post European history majors—can even achieve doctorates in the field—without noticing the smallest indication that Taylor existed. On one occasion when asked what he thought the future might bring, he replied "Dear boy, you should never ask an historian to predict the future — frankly we have a hard enough time predicting the past. Both a journalist and a broadcaster, he became well known to millions through his television lectures.
Dinosaurs, Neanderthals, Alexander the Great, Ancient Egyptians, Roman Britain - any historical or prehistorical subject, no matter how remote, is grist to the mill. Computer-generated images, advanced prosthetics and other sophisticated technological innovations have made it much easier than before to find striking visual images with which to portray the distant past. The current BBC offerings on the Victorians, marking the centenary of Queen Victoria's death, have a huge range and variety which depend to a very limited extent on moving pictures from the early days of cinema.
You can view reconstructions of life in a house as it was - or is thought to have been - in the s, or follow Michael Wood as he tramps across South America in the footsteps of the last Inca or drives through the remotest regions of Inner Asia in search of traces left by the conquering armies of Alexander the Great. And last year the BBC launched its own History Magazine , which acquired a circulation of tens of thousands within a few months.
As well as information on forthcoming history programmes and on historical sites, exhibitions and museums that readers can visit, it has brief digests of recent articles in the academic journals, short exchanges on controversial historical subjects and summaries of the latest history books by their authors. Although there are some longer articles by academic historians, the magazine is partly designed for the post-literate age, and aims at a readership whose attention span seems to have been calculated at no more than about five or six minutes.
Yet the circulation of the older and more upmarket History Today this year celebrating its 50th anniversary doesn't seem to have suffered a bit. The most striking aspect of history's new popularity is the arrival of the best-selling blockbuster. For example, the two-volume, 2,page biography of Hitler by Ian Kershaw, professor of modern history at Sheffield University, has reached the best-seller lists without in any way compromising its academic integrity.
But the current master of this genre is Norman Davies. His huge history of Europe and his equally enormous history of Britain - The Isles - have sold in their hundreds of thousands, and not just in the UK.
Buy Essays in English History (Pelican S.) First Edition by A. J. P. Taylor (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free. Essays in English History book. Read 2 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A J P Taylor admits to writing, more often than not, to sa.
Yet he has imbibed from his former teacher A J P Taylor not only the common touch but also a quirky individuality. His books are unconventional in almost every respect. For example, Europe: a history prints all its maps sideways-on, refusing to put north at the top in the usual way; its narrative is interspersed with frequent boxes or capsules containing little essays on diverse and seemingly arbitrarily selected topics; and many of its judgements and opinions seem almost deliberately designed to provoke. These quirks are the equivalent of Taylor's famous footnotes "George V: wore his trousers creased at the sides, not front and back", was one of my favourites.
But each of Davies's books also has a message: that the history of the British Isles has been part of the history of Europe from the beginning, or that the history of Europe itself is as much the history of Russia, Poland and the Ukraine as it is the history of France, Italy or Spain. He continued his studies in history, and in his first book, The Italian Problem in European Diplomacy , was published. Taylor was a tutor in modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford, from to and a research fellow there until He became a panel member of a BBC-TV news analysis program in and made regular television appearances thereafter.
He was also popular as a journalist and lecturer.
Though often sparking controversy with his unorthodox views, Taylor nonetheless maintained high standards of scholarship. His most widely read and controversial book was The Origins of the Second World War , in which he maintained that the war erupted because Great Britain and France vacillated between policies of appeasement and resistance toward Adolf Hitler. Taylor's autobiography, A Personal History, was published in He at one time praised the scholarship of the notorious David Irving, but he never endorsed the bogus Hitler Diaries or Irving's anti-Holocaust arguments.
Taylor practiced a legitimate revisionism that is found in every field of history. Daniel J. Goldhagen has argued that a deep-rooted anti-Semitism in Germany caused the Holocaust, not just Hitler and the Nazi party.
Howard Phillips rated it it was amazing Sep 01, Paul rated it really liked it Dec 29, Ammar rated it really liked it Jun 05, Geoffrey Rose rated it liked it Mar 29, Tom Cryer rated it really liked it Jun 14, Simone Pelizza rated it liked it Feb 16, Karl Hickey rated it it was amazing Jan 08, Simon rated it really liked it Apr 28, James Dalziel rated it liked it Mar 25, Leighton Bullivant rated it it was amazing Jan 05, Mr P rated it it was ok Mar 23, Jeff rated it really liked it Dec 09, David Schouten rated it liked it Mar 16, Povilas A.
Mike rated it it was amazing Jan 07, Michael Outlaw rated it really liked it Aug 31, Edward Lengel rated it liked it Aug 15, Holly Anderson rated it liked it Jan 04, Simon Dicky rated it really liked it Jun 14, Pip rated it liked it Jul 28, Vileninred rated it liked it May 30, Jesse rated it really liked it Jan 20, Michele Davis rated it it was amazing Dec 29, Charles rated it really liked it May 15, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
About A. Alan John Percivale Taylor was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures. Books by A. Trivia About Essays in English