To write history is to consider how to explicate the past, to weigh the myriad possible approaches to the past, and to come to terms with how the past can be and has been used. In this latest edition of Arguing History, prize-winning historian Professor Jeremy Black and Dr. Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society, considers both popular and academic approaches to the past. The focus of their discussion is on the evolution of history as a genre and the interaction between the presentation of the past and current circumstances, on how history is used to validate one view of the present or to discredit another, and on readings of the past that unite and those that divide. The discussion goes chronologically from Gibbon to the present day. All in all a most interesting discussion for both the academic and the lay educated reader.
Charles Coutinho Ph. D. 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.