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Historiography

The nation's leading authority on the conflict explains why the Civil War still fascinates us

One hundred and fifty years after the guns began shelling Fort Sumter this April, Americans remain fascinated with the Civil War. Why do we care about a war that ended so long ago? Read more >>

Forty seven years ago, the president wrote for American Heritage that the study of history is no mere pastime but the means by which a nation establishes its sense of identity and purpose

A preeminent author recalls his experience as one of America's first combat historians, among a handful of men who accompanied soldiers into the bloodiest battles to write history as it was being made

Fresh from Williams College’s history program, the author entered World War II as a 24-year-old combat historian, earning four combat medals and a Bronze Star. Read more >>

“Good writers,” says the author, “write the kind of history good historians can’t or don’t write”

“What if many of a so-called Fact were little better than a Fiction?” asked Carlyle. Read more >>

A distinguished journalist and former presidential adviser says that to find the meaning of any news story, we must dig for its roots in the past

I am fascinated by what I see in the rearview mirror of experience. The future, being a mystery, excites, but the past instructs. Read more >>
As three recent films show—one on the atomic bomb, one on women defense workers during the Second World War, one on the government arts projects of the thirties —this history of our times offers film makers arresting opportunities. Read more >>

To what extent did greatness inhere in the man, and to what degree was it a product of the situation?

Seldom has an eminent man been more conscious of his place in history than was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He regarded history as an imposing drama and himself as a conspicuous actor. Read more >>

By no means, said W. H. Prescott. Absolutely, said Lord Acton. The question remains hard—and intriguing

In 1847 that Boston gentleman and man of letters William Hickling Prescott concluded twenty years of labor on the history of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella and on the conquests of Mexico and Peru. Read more >>

A distinguished historian describes how America, suddenly thrust into nationhood without a history of its own, set out to create one. And what a splendid achievement it was!