The Progressive Historians: Turner, Beard, Parrington (Phoenix Book)

The Progressive Historians: Turner, Beard, Parrington (Phoenix Book)
Language English
Goodreads Rating: 3.83
Pages: 498 pages
Published: November 19th 1979 by University of Chicago Press (first published January 1st 1968)
Category: History
Author: Richard Hofstadter

Richard Hofstader's last book, written in 1968, was a look back at the great Progressive-era historians who influenced his work and, more so than any subsequent generation of historians, the debates of the public at large in their era. Turner, Beard, and Parrington all took history-writing out of the almost mythical or providential realm that it once held and posited American history as part of an eternal struggle between different classes and types.

It was both a semi-Marxist and semi-sociological look at history, and Hofstader points out the benefits and the shortcomings of such a stance. The book tends to ramble quite a bit, but this is certainly a fresh look at these figures.

For people who spend so much time writing, historians themselves are rarely written about, and this critique cum biography is an interesting attempt to see how lives are shaped by historical forces, and then how they try to shape them, or at least their meaning.

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