March 17, 2011

Quote of the Decade

Of the past decade, that is, for me, personally:
History does not teach lots of little lessons. Insofar as it teaches any lessons, it teaches only one big one: that nothing ever works out quite the way its managers intended or expected.
That, of course, comes from Gordon Wood's wonderful essay collection, The Purpose of the Past.

As many of you will recall, I blogged excerpts from several TPotP chapters, since last summer:
The Battle for History
Narrative History
The Lessons of History
the task of a historian
on 'the New Historicism'
History as Fiction
Truth in History
History vs. Political Theory
History and Heritage
There were a few chapters left to go, but I may just rest with those. If you're engaged by any of these quotes, I highly recommend picking this up.  Enjoy.


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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton