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The Future of History
John Lukacs
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The Future of History

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
For more than sixty years, John Lukacs has been writing, teaching, and reading about the past. In this inspired volume, he turns his attention to the future. Throughout The Future of History, Lukacs reflects on his discipline, eloquently arguing that the writing and teaching of history are literary rather than scientific, comprising knowledge that is neither wholly objecti ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I am something of a sucker for short books by master thinkers of encyclopedic scope. That's a good description of The Future of History by John Lukacs. It's a dense meditation on the art and practice of history, aligning it more closely with literature than science, that contains one especially stimulating chapter (for me, at least): "History and the Novel."

But I'll get to that chapter in a moment. First some quick observations and issues: Lukacs wants to define history as we k
Dec 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deep-thoughts
This book was at times exceedingly dry and at other times deeply stimulating. Just the musings at age 87 of a professional historian on what history is, was, and shall be. It gets into all sorts of subtle distinctions that evaded me I must admit--historianship, historicity, historiography. This is the philosophy of history. There are some interesting discussions on historical fiction, poetry, the novel, and how history compares and contrasts with these forms. He discusses the future of books and ...more
Bob Mobley
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Lukacs has written a challenging and enlightening book that examines the role of history in our thinking culture and subconscious. I find this one of the most interesting books I've ever had the opportunity of reading. It is really an examination of how we as individuals like to think about our world and what we believe it to be. A sense of the past and some kind of interest in it will always exist. Professor Lukacs' book looks at the role that history and historians play in how our societi ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This really is one of the strangest books that I have ever read. It was not overtly bad, but undoubtedly composed in the most disorderly manner (with no introduction, statement of purpose, back-matter or anything of the sort) and employs a novel dialogue method of expression, very informal, using lots of contractions and basic speech. Instead of a formal, structured work, we get one raw ramble from start to finish. While I cannot say that I think that this approach compensates for the lack of c ...more
Apr 15, 2014 marked it as lookedinto-decidedagainst  ·  review of another edition
Description: Despite a recently unprecedented appetite for history among the general public, as evidenced by history television program ratings, sales of popular history books, and increased participation in local historical societies, Lukacs believes that the historical profession is in a state of disarray. He traces a decline in history teaching throughout higher education, matched by a corresponding reduction in the number of history students. He reviews a series of short-lived fads within th ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently Dr. Michael Haykin introduced our Church History class to author and historian, John Lukacs. I'm glad he did. I've yet to read any of his actual books of history (Five Days in London, The Legacy of the Second War, and thirty others!), but I thoroughly enjoyed this little volume where he reflects on his profession, both its past and future, and especially on the need to see the teaching and writing of history as literature. It's a great book that captures the wisdom of a seasoned scholar ...more
Lucy Pollard-Gott
The chapter on "History and the Novel" should be of special interest to writers. Lukacs argues that all fiction is necessarily historical, whether consciously or not, and the best novels for historians to learn from may not be those explicitly setting out to tell history.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a wonderful little read. His insight into the issues facing both writers and teachers of history were astute, penetrating, and eloquent. For such an easy read, I'm a bit astounded at how thought provoking it was.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historiography
Clear, precise, and instructive for all those with a continuing interest in history.
Joel Zartman
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear, brilliant, brief.

Anybody who wants a definition of history and wants to understand what historians should be about needs to read Lukacs.
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Lukacs was born in Budapest to a Roman Catholic father and Jewish mother. His parents divorced before the Second World War. During the Second World War he was forced to serve in a Hungarian labour battalion for Jews. During the German occupation of Hungary in 1944-45 he evaded deportation to the death camps, and survived the siege of Budapest. In 1946, as it became clear that Hungary was going to ...more
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