Telling the Truth About History


Telling the Truth about History was published in 1994 by W.W.Norton & Company. This book was written by Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob. All three authors are historians at the University of California. In the Introduction of this book on page 9 the authors state the purpose as enlightening the readers about the relationship between history and science, objectivity, postmodernism, and politics in democracy influence on identity. However, it is important to remember that these explanations are bias due to the Western American view. This book was meant for college students as well. Telling the Truth About History incorporates the relation to history in the sixth chapter allowing for students to follow and understand the interconnections, however, it struggles in its frequent loss of focus and examples throughout the beginning and has a misleading title in the last chapter.

Telling the Truth About History focuses on the history of history. It follows history's progress through time and attempts to explain the ideals and abstract concepts of the time in connection to history. The book starts on the focus of sciences role of the development of history. It then progresses its timeline to the american western focus on history and science and modernistic ideals influence on the study of this subject. Lastly, it finishes with a focus on the truth and objectivity of history with a last chapter focusing on future of history might be going.

The strengths of this book include the theme of the connections and development of history. In Chapter Six, "Postmodernism and the Crisis of Modernity" this strength is at its greatest. It uses the correct balances of explanation, examples, and then the importance or link to history to best relate to the reader. The authors also clearly describe the concepts that they want the reader to grasp out of this section. For example, on page 200 in explains a social historian, their views, and then gives an example. The book then continues on making an effective transition into the postmodernism beliefs and effects. Due to the attention to explanation and detail, readers can better not only grasp the concept of what is being read but also the authors interpretation of it.

The weaknesses of this book include the loss of focus in the beginning of the book and the misleading title to the last chapter. Within the first two chapters the concept that the book is focused on history is often lost in the in depth details and focus on the evolution of science, its ideals, and its influences. The authors miss opportunities to link it back to the focus of history, reminding the reader of the connection between the science and history subjects. Another area of misleading is the last chapter of the book titled, "The Future of History." For the majority of the chapter is it unclear of the authors point of view on the future of history. When reading this title the reader believes the authors will be covering their idea of were history is headed or were it needs to go. Instead it delves back into the past of education, once again missing opportunities to remind authors of their focus of history. While it is hinted that more focus on a multicultural curriculum should be the focus and different aspects should be incorporated, it can be possible to miss due to the lack of incorporation of these ideas.

In conclusion, this book shows great incorporation and links to history in the sixth chapter that engages readers to the thoughts and ideals of postmodernism and modernity, it lacks in the beginning and end of the book to bring in the connection of the focus of history into these sections. This book allows for great connections to different ideals and philosophers that influences science and history as they developed. The book allows for a reader to understand more abstract concepts of history to be introduced and understood. In the overall of the book it allows readers to follow the path of the development of history. This book is a great read and expands knowledge of different ideals, biases, and abstract conceptions.