In May 1997, a group of distinguished historians announced the formation of the Historical Society, an organization that sought to be free of the jargon-laden debates and political agendas that have come to characterize the profession. Eugene Genovese, Prsident of the Society, explained the commitment to form a new and genuinely diverse organization. "The Society extends from left to right and embraces people of every ideological and political tendency. The Society promotes frank debate in an atmosphere of civility, mutual respect, and common courtesy. All we require is that participants lay down plausible premises; reason logically; appeal to evidence; and prepare to exchange criticism with those who hold different points of view. Our goal: to promote an integrated history accessible to the public." From those beginnings, the Society has grown to include hundreds of members from every level of the profession, from Pulitzer-prize winning scholars to graduate students, across the ideological and political spectrum.

In this first book from the Historical Society, several founding members explore central topics within the field; the enduring value of the practice of history; the sensitive use of historical records, sources, and archives; the value of common standards; and much more. An engaging and challenging work that will appeal to scholars, students, educators, and the many public readers who have become lost in the culture wars, Reconstructing History is sure to generate the kind of civil, reasoned debate that is a foundational goal of the Historical Society.

Contributors include Walter A. McDougall, Marc Trachtenberg, Alan Charles Kors, Deborah A. Symonds, Leo P. Ribuffo, Bruce Kuklick, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Edward Berkowitz, John Patrick Diggins, John Womack, Victor Davis Hanson, Miriam R. Levin, Martin J. Sklar, Eugene D. Genovese, Daniel C. Littlefield, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Russell Jacoby, Rochelle Gurstein, Paul Rahe, Donald Kagan, Diane Ravitch, Sean Wilentz, Louis Ferleger and Richard H. Steckel.

part I|34 pages

The Imperative: The Historical Society as a Critique and a New Ideal

chapter Chapter 1|3 pages

A New Departure

ByEugene D. Genovese

chapter Chapter 2|3 pages

The Past under Siege

A Historian Ponders the State of His Profession—And What to Do about It
ByMarc Trachtenberg

chapter Chapter 3|6 pages

The Future of History in an Increasingly Unified World

ByAlan Charles Kors

chapter Chapter 4|5 pages

Politics and Multiculturalism

ByDaniel c. Littlefield

chapter Chapter 5|12 pages

Democracy in the Ivory Tower?

Toward the Restoration of an Intellectual Community
ByElisabeth Lasch-Quinn

part II|104 pages

History and the Contemporary Intellectual Milieu

chapter Chapter 6|16 pages

History in a Postmodern World

ByElizabeth Fox-Genovese

chapter Chapter 7|15 pages

On the Obsolescence of "Puritanism" as an Epithet

ByRochelle Gurstein

chapter Chapter 8|23 pages

Postmodernist History

ByGertrude Himmelfarb

chapter Chapter 9|25 pages

A New Intellectual History?

ByRussell Jacoby

part III|98 pages

Meditations on the Practice of History

chapter Chapter 11|21 pages

Confessions of an Accidental (or Perhaps Overdetermined) Historian

ByLeo P. Ribuffo

chapter Chapter 12|12 pages

Living in the Scottish Record Office

ByDeborah A. Symonds

chapter Chapter 13|13 pages

Writing the History of Practice

The Humanities and Baseball, with a Nod to Wrestling
ByBruce Kuklick

chapter Chapter 14|13 pages

The Dilemmas of the Contemporary Military Historian

ByVictor Davis Hanson

chapter Chapter 15|12 pages

Aristotle and the Study of History: A Manifesto

ByPaul A. Rahe

chapter Chapter 16|12 pages

What is a Liberal Education?

ByDonald Kagan

chapter Chapter 17|11 pages

The Death of Jane Addams

ByEdward Berkowitz

part IV|62 pages

An Educational Mission: Standards for the Teaching of History

chapter Chapter 18|11 pages

The Controversy over National History Standards

ByDiane Ravitch

chapter Chapter 19|23 pages

The National History Standards

ByJohn Patrick Diggins

chapter Chapter 20|6 pages

Clio Banished? Battles over History in the Schools

BySean Wilentz

chapter Chapter 21|17 pages

Whose History? Whose Standards?

ByWalter A. McDougall

part V|71 pages

Historians at Work

chapter Chapter 22|18 pages

Capitalism and Socialism in the Emergence of Modern America

The Formative Era, 1890-1916
ByMartin J. Sklar

chapter Chapter 23|25 pages

Center and Periphery in the History of Science

ByMiriam R. Levin

chapter Chapter 24|14 pages

Work in the Moctezuma Brewery

ByJohn Womack

chapter Chapter 25|9 pages

Faulkner's South: Is There Truth in Fiction?

ByLouis Ferleger, Richard H. Steckel