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The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past
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The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A huge success in hardcover, The Killing of History argues that history today is in the clutches of literary and social theorists who have little respect for or training in the discipline. He believes that they deny the existence of truth and substitute radically chic theorizing for real knowledge about the past. The result is revolutionary and unprecedented: contemporary ...more
Paperback, 372 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Encounter Books (first published November 30th 1994)
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Lane Wilkinson
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: postmodernism
I am a very patient and calm person. So, it is rare for me to read a book that makes me so angry that I have to put it down every ten pages. Honestly, the theories of the lit-crit elite are so infuriating that I have to stop reading to keep my blood pressure down. So, I commend Windschuttle for directly addressing the theorists who are indirectly destroying the academy, and I further commend his attempt at a fair approach. Windschuttle does not denigrate nor does he dismiss the contributions of ...more
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
In The Killing of History Keith Windschuttle takes aim at the various silly French intellectual fads that have been infesting our universities in the last few decades and that have been such a blight on our intellectual life.

The structuralists, the semioticians, the post-structuralists, the postmodernists and the rest of this motley crew of pseudo-intellectual frauds are demolished one by one. Windschuttle examines case histories of attempts by these charlatans to replace the traditional academi
Brett Williams
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Totalitarian Era of Political Correctness

“The essence of history,” writes the author, “is that it once tried to tell the truth, to describe as best as possible what really happened.” Not so much anymore. Less is there a distinction between history and fiction in this, one of many fronts in the culture wars against Western Civilization. In this book we find a war of atrocities committed by the West upon itself, most notably in the US. The Australian author, Keith Windshuttle, carries us th
Feb 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
A dismal and willfully obtuse rant about the dangers of cultural studies and critical theory by a conservative Australian historian. It's hard in the end to decide what Windschuttle's real complaint is. Is he hostile to theory as such? Is it that he just dislikes methodologies that treat history as a narrative like any other? Or does he just disagree with the results reached by historians using "postmodern" techniques? Several of the examples he cites are certainly open to serious critique as to ...more
Jack Gardner
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Intellectual, Historical, and Literary Treat

Thank you for The Killing of History. I am giving copies for Xmas, both for their enjoyment and hoping they will help parents and kids counter some of the nonsense students are exposed to. Your examples of fraudulent, incompetent history accepted at universities in the name of political correctness and diversity demonstrate the undermining of true education.

You mention Foucault's neglect of crediting sources he likely drew upon and you discuss his argu
Jim Chase
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
For the past many decades, even the casual observer cannot help but to see that any activity, approach, or viewpoint that takes on (or has forced upon it) the descriptor of "traditional" is increasingly portrayed in a negative light. The arguments over traditional vs. contemporary (modernism, postmodernism, relativism) play out in almost every venue imaginable, most notably in academia, religion, and politics. Keith Windschuttle's The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book by an Australian author tells the background of literary criticism theories and then proceeds to debunk many of the scholars who use them by showing examples of good scholarship. The side by side comparison of post-modernists writings next to other writings on the same subject is really devastating to the literary critics. I was pretty much thrilled to discover this storehouse of intellectual ammo.
The Hanged Man
May 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a fun book to read, especially if you have to read some of the more 'pomo' stuff for class. Windschuttle takes aim at the culture of literary criticism and cultural studies which is now supplanting traditional history as the backbone of history departments. I found the larger premise of Windschuttle's case solid. He is at his best when he is writing about his own area of knowledge (Australian history), and a bit weak when he ventures outward.

At the end of the day, Windschuttle makes a co
Alberto Martín de Hijas
Interesting polemic denouncing the damage caused to history as a discipline by tendencies more interested in promoting a given discourse than in studying the facts (mainly postmodernism and poststructuralism). Windschuttle not only responds adequately to his arguments but also exposes them with the clarity that the refuted rarely practice. Although several years have passed since its initial publication, its validity only has increased (Specially with the aggravation of the problem in these post ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read a chapter or two in Dr Matzko’s historiography course in undergrad and the whole thing in Dr Grubb’s grad historiography at Clemson. Excellent. Not popular with the talkative Pomo and deconstructionist types in the seminar. Proved a good introduction to the absurdist manner in which examining evidence critically and seeking objective truth gets a scholar labeled “racist” nowadays. (Someone in my class, in response to Windschuttle’s takedown of Michel Foucault, literally said “Keith Windschu ...more
Stephen Coates
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With examples concerning Captain Cook’s visit to the Hawaiian Island and the subsequent settlement of history, Windschuttle presents the case how new pseudo-academic disciplines of social and cultural theory, post-modernism, anti-humanism, Marxism, cultural relativism and scientific relativism are destroying the disciple of history by preferencing myths, semiotics and discourses over factual records and scholarship.
Brett T
Complaints against the modern university's production of weapons-grade balloon juice have been around for a long time, although they have mostly been the province of more conservative-minded folk. Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind gave respectable cover for people who would identify as liberal but who were seeing goofy ideas grab hold of their respective disciplines and render them inaccurate, distorted or in many cases, just plain silly. It's kind of interesting to look on some of ...more
Tom Darrow
Jul 14, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dreadfully painful and dull to read. Ironically, the author is guilty of the offence on which he is writing. By producing literary criticism so dry and dense he has killed my desire to read and even think about history.
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Especially good is the chapter on "The return of tribalism" as well as the chapter on "history as Literature." The discussion on Foucault did not excite me.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-of-2008
Mar 31, 2010 rated it liked it
I ate this up when I read it in college. Now, I'm not so sure about. Isn't history all based on the perspective of whomever writes it?

At any rate, food for thought.
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Takes on Derrida, Foucault, etc, and their theories,which would lead to culturalism being the key to human knowledge.
Feb 21, 2010 added it
The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists are Murdering Our Past by Keith Windschuttle (2000)
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historiography
Windschuttle explains ideas well and is fun to read. He seems a bit overly opinionated at times. I'm glad to have read this book though.
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Dec 31, 2013
Andre Wiranata
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May 02, 2016
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Patrick Swan
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Mike Hanson
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Jun 21, 2020
Yuri Sharon
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Dec 09, 2018
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Valeriano Diviacchi
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Dec 29, 2017
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Keith Windschuttle is an Australian writer and historian.

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