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350civil war history had never been published. In the present work, Plains Indian Raiders, Nye recounts from original sources, many unpublished, from the National Archives, the South Plains wars from 1864 to 1875. In the next 223 pages he annotates over a hundred of Soule's photographs. The work of either man alone would be useful. Together, they are a major contribution . Forrest D. Monahan, Jr. Midwestern University History in the United States, 1800-1860: Its Practice and Purpose. By George Callcott. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970. Pp. viii, 239. $8.95.) Historiography, broadly defined, appears to be getting a new lease on life. Writings on the craft of history seem to be of greater interest than at any time since the days of Carl Becker's and Charles Beard's relativist essays in the 1930s. Several distinguished emeritus practitioners, such as John Hicks and Dexter Perkins, have recently published memoirs which cast light on what it meant to be a historian earlier in the century. The 1969 presidential address given by C. Vann Woodward to the American Historical Association gave a particularly thoughtful critique on the state of the profession. Younger and more activist scholars , such as Martin Duberman and Staughton Lynd, have indicated their dissatisfaction with history as traditionally written and have argued their preference, respectively, for art and for history in the service of social reform. Other young scholars who are more preoccupied with matters of historical method, such as Robert Berkhofer and David Hackett Fischer, have published books which insist upon the need for increased rigor in the works of historians. The names cited are merely illustrative of a broad and varied concern with the nature of the historical enterprise. More narrowly historiographical, but equally symptomatic of the growing self-consciousness of historians, are the recent studies of the history of historical writing, such as George Callcott's remarkably comprehensive survey of scholarship in the nineteenth century prior to the Civil War. Callcott discusses the histories as documents for the intellectual history of the period, the popular interest in historical scholarship, the role of history in the schools, the sociology of pre-Civil War historians , the kinds of history written, and the philosophical meaning of the histories to their authors and audiences. The book will immediately become the standard reference work for students interested in any aspect of historical studies between 1800 and 1860. Callcott's major contribution can be phrased generally in terms of his "democratic" as opposed to an "elite" historiographical perspective. He is more interested in the total range of historical writing than in the few great works of scholarship. He argues, for example, that "Never before BOOK REVIEWS351 or since has history occupied such a vital place in the thinking of the American people as during the first half of the nineteenth century." (p. 25) He backs up his argument in part by comparing lists of best-sellers: "of the 248 best-selling books in the United States between 1800 to 1860, ninety of them, or 36 per cent, dealt with history. By comparison, about 15 per cent have been historical since 1860." (pp. 31-32) This is particularly interesting, if not paradoxical, in view of the conclusions reached by historians who have attempted to summarize the nature of pre-Civil War ideas. John Higham, John Thomas, and George Fredrickson , among others, have in various ways emphasized the optimism, perfectionism , feeling of boundlessness and overall orientation toward the future of the intellectuals and social thought generally. The fact that the first half of the nineteenth century saw an unusual popular preoccupation with the past, at the same time as it expressed a pervasive social concern with change in the future, is most suggestive for historians in the 1970's who are worried about their fate in a society undergoing reform and revolution. Perhaps the educated public L· capable of looking backward and forward simultaneously. Callcott's survey of the kinds of history written is extensive, and fills in the broad outlines we have come to expect. Of the general interest in history, in the schools, among the public, and by the leading historians, approximately one-third was focused upon American history...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 350-351
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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