The Historian’s Craft: Reflections on the Nature and Uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of Those Who Write It.

February 12, 2020 - Comment

In this classic work, distinguished French economic historian, Marc Bloch, discusses the techniques of historical observation, analysis, and criticism, and the reestablishment of historical causation in assessing events. What is the value of history? What is the use of history? How do scholars attempt to unpack it and make connections in a responsible manner?  

In this classic work, distinguished French economic historian, Marc Bloch, discusses the techniques of historical observation, analysis, and criticism, and the reestablishment of historical causation in assessing events. What is the value of history? What is the use of history? How do scholars attempt to unpack it and make connections in a responsible manner?
 
While the topics of historiography and historical methodology have become increasingly popular, Bloch remains an authority. He argues that history is a whole; no period and no topic can be understood except in relation to other periods and topics. And what is unique about Bloch is that he puts his theories into practice; for example, calling upon both his experience serving in WWI as well as his many years spent in peaceful study and reflection. He also argues that written records are not enough; a historian must draw upon maps, place-names, ancient tools, aerial surveys, folklore, and everything that is available.
 
This is a work that argues constantly for a wider, more human history. For a history that describes how and why people live and work together. There is a living, breathing connection between the past and the present and it is the historian’s responsibility to do it justice.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Epitaph to a Learned Man Marc Bloch–veteran of World Wars I and II, historian, professor, writer, French patriot–entreats us in this spare volume to maintain our objectivity, to interpret history with the skepticism of the journalist and the scientific method of the researcher. He identifies some of the pitfalls, the improperly translated idiom, the anthropomorphism of time and place, and relying too heavily on the written accounts of earlier historians, as means by which the understanding of historical events can be…

Anonymous says:

From one history to another Journalists and historians have the daunting task of answering the five W’s. However, Marc Bloch answers history’s who, what, where, when, and why in his somewhat legendary book pertaining to the understanding of the historical method, THE HISTORIAN’S CRAFT, like a stream of thought or a conversation with the reader. Although Bloch’s examination is not meant to be a complete analysis, he provides a general theoretical and philosophical discussion as it relates to history that is insightful…

Anonymous says:

Fascinating Read Written by the author during WWII, he was in the French resistance when France was occupied by the Nazis. He was summarily executed by them after getting captured, but copies of this manuscript survived and were published years later.Written in near-prose, translated from French, it’s not an easy read. For the critical mind however, this book proposes a system of logic that allows one to discern true from false. It’s a beautiful, challenging read that anyone who has an interest in…

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