The Killing of History
How a Discipline Is Being Murdered by Literary Critics and Social Theorists(amazon)
Keith Windschuttle (View Bio)
Hardcover: The Free Press, 1995; Paperback: Encounter Books, 2000.
"What Jacques Derrida's deconstruction did to the study of literature in the 1980s, the inexorable rise of 'cultural studies' — the trendy new cross¯disciplinary field that dissolves traditional notions of historic fact in an acid bath of theory — now threatens to do to the discipline of history. This is the premise of Keith Windschuttle's THE KILLING OF HISTORY. Windschuttle's book aims to defend 'traditional,' that is to say factually based, history against an onslaught of fashionable academic theories (structuralism and poststructuralism, cultural relativism, postmodernism, etc.) each of which denies, in it's way, that objective 'truth' or 'knowledge' about the past can possibly be determined. Taken together, these theories in Windschuttle's view threaten the core goal of the historical discipline as first bequeathed to us by Herodotus: 'to record the truth about the past'" — Salon.com
"Devastating, intellectually sophisticated, and wide-ranging ...the most important work of cultural criticism to have appeared all year — indeed, in many a year." — The New Criterion
"A reasonable, subtly argued if wide-ranging and at times unwieldy critique of contemporary historical theory.... Each of the nine chapters examines a particular episode or issue and analyzes current trends in scholarship. For example, a chapter on the conquest of Mexico presents a fascinating overview of this event and various historians' interpretations of it.... He largely succeeds in shedding more light than heat on some contentious issues." — Publishers Weekly