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Past imperfect : facts, fictions, and fraud in the writing of American history

Author: Peter Charles Hoffer
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, 2004.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Woodrow Wilson, like many men of his generation, wanted to impose a version of America's founding identity: it was a land of the free and a home of the brave. But not the braves. Or the slaves. Or the disenfranchised women. So the history of Wilson's generation omitted a significant proportion of the population in favor of a perspective that was predominantly white, male, and Protestant."
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Genre/Form: Biography
Case studies
Named Person: Michael A Bellesiles; Doris Kearns Goodwin; Stephen E Ambrose; Joseph J Ellis
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Peter Charles Hoffer
ISBN: 1586482440 9781586482442
OCLC Number: 226116461
Description: xiv, 287 p. ; 25 cm.
Contents: Introduction : two-faced history --
Ch. 1. The rise of consensus history --
Ch. 2. Professions of history --
Ch. 3. The new history and its promoters --
Ch. 4. In the eye of the storm --
Ch. 5. Falsification : the case of Michael Bellesiles --
Ch. 6. Plagiarism : the cases of Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin --
Ch. 7. Fabrication : the case of Joseph Ellis --
Conclusion : the future of the past.
Responsibility: Peter Charles Hoffer.
More information:

Abstract:

"Woodrow Wilson, like many men of his generation, wanted to impose a version of America's founding identity: it was a land of the free and a home of the brave. But not the braves. Or the slaves. Or the disenfranchised women. So the history of Wilson's generation omitted a significant proportion of the population in favor of a perspective that was predominantly white, male, and Protestant."

"That flaw would become a fissure and eventually a schism. A new history arose which, written in part by radicals and liberals, had little use for the noble and the heroic, and rankled many who wanted a celebratory rather than a critical history. To this combustible mixture of elements was added the flame of public debate. History in the 1990s was a minefield of competing passions, political views, and prejudices. It was dangerous ground, and, at the end of the decade, four of the nation's most respected and popular historians were almost destroyed on it: Michael Bellesiles, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Ambrose, and Joseph Ellis." "This is their story, set against the wider narrative of America's history. It may be, as Flaubert put it, that "Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times." To which he could have added: falsify, plagiarize, and politicize, because that's the other story of America's history."--Jacket.

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