HistoryWhy It Matters
History
Why It Matters

We justify our actions in the present through our understanding of the past. But we live in a time when politicians lie brazenly about historical facts and meddle with the content of history books, while media differ wildly in their reporting of the same event. Frequently, new discoveries force us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about the past.

So how can any certainty about history be established, and why does it matter? Lynn Hunt shows why the search for truth about the past, as a continual process of discovery, is vital for our societies. History has an essential role to play in ensuring honest presentation of evidence. In this way, it can foster humility about our present-day concerns, a critical attitude toward chauvinism, and an openness to other peoples and cultures. History, Hunt argues, is our best defense against tyranny.

Introducing Polity's Why It Matters series: In these short and lively books, world-leading thinkers make the case for the importance of their subjects and aim to inspire a new generation of students.

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  • March 2018
  • 140 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509525539
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509525546
  • Open eBook $12.95
  • 9781509525577
Table of Contents
1. Now More Than Ever
2. Truth in History
3. History's Politics
4. History's Future
Further Reading
Index
About the Author
Lynn Hunt is a world-renowned historian of Europe who has written numerous scholarly and popular history books. Her books have been translated into fourteen languages and read by tens of thousands of students across the globe. She is former President of the American Historical Association, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society, as well as Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
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Reviews

"A smart, pithy, and frankly essential statement of the origins, aims, and methods of historical study. E.H. Carr’s What is History? for the twenty-first century."
Jill Lepore, Harvard University and author of These Truths: A History of the United States

“What is history now, why does it matter now, who are the people writing it, and who are they writing for? In this bracing and timely book, Lynn Hunt not only shows why these questions matter, but also answers them brilliantly and provocatively.”
Sir David Cannadine, Oxford University and President of the British Academy

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