The Undivided Past: History Beyond Our Differences

Author(s): David Cannadine


This title is an impassioned, controversial plea for us to recognise the importance of writing history - from world-famous historian David Cannadine. David Cannadine is one of Britain's most distinguished historians and this is his masterpiece. "The Undivided Past" is an agonised attempt to understand how so much of the writing of history has been driven by a fatal desire to dramatize differences - to create an 'us versus them'. Great works of history have so often had at their heart a wish to sift people in ways that have been profoundly damaging and provided the intellectual backing and justification for terrible political decisions. Again and again, categories have been found - whether religion, nation, class, gender, race or 'civilization' - that have sought to explain world events by fabricating some malevolent or helpless 'other'. This book is above all an appeal to common humanity. We seem doomed always to fall (most recently in the wake of 9/11) into the 'us versus them' trap, but there is no reason why the history we read and write should not be much better than this and describe what we all have in common rather than what divides us.
About the author: Sir David Cannadine is Chair of the National Portrait Gallery, Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University and General Editor of the "Penguin History of Europe" and "Penguin History of Britain". He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Chair of the Blue Plaques Committee. His major books include "The Rise and Fall of the British Aristocracy", "Ornamentalism" and "Mellon: A Life". He is currently writing the "Penguin History of Victorian Britain". He has previously taught at Cambridge, Columbia and London universities.


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Sir David Cannadine was born in Birmingham, England, in 1950 and educated at Cambridge, Oxford, and Princeton. He is the author of many acclaimed books, including "The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, G. M. Trevelyan, " "History in Our Time, Class in Britain, Ornamentalism, "and "Mellon." He has taught at Cambridge and Columbia Universities and has also served as director of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He is currently Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University.

General Fields

  • : 9781846141324
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Allen Lane
  • : 0.603
  • : March 2013
  • : 240mm X 162mm X 32mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : June 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : David Cannadine
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : 907.2
  • : 352