Jeremy Black

Nov 25, 2023

A Brief History of History

Indiana University Press 2023

In A Brief History of History (Indiana UP, 2023), acclaimed historian Jeremy Black seeks to reinvigorate and redefine our ideas about history. The stories we tell about the past are a crucial aspect of all cultures. However, while the traditional storytelling process—what we think of as "history" in the proper sense—is useful, it is also misleading, not least because it leads to the repetition of bias and misinformation.

Black suggests that the conventional idea of history and historians is constructed too narrowly, as it fails to engage with the broad nature of lived experience. By focusing on a singular idea or story within the history being explored, we fail to understand the interconnectivity of the everyday experience.

A Brief History of History challenges accepted norms of the historical perspective and offers a view of human history that will surprise many and (perhaps) infuriate some. But above all, it is a history of historians written for this moment in time, a time when the traditional Eurocentric approach to history now appears wholly inappropriate.

Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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Charles Coutinho

Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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