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Frontiers of History

Historical Inquiry in the Twentieth Century

Donald R. Kelley


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This book, the third volume of Donald Kelley’s monumental survey of Western historiography, covers the twentieth century, especially Europe. As in the first two volumes, the author discusses historical methods and ideas of all sorts to provide a detailed map of historical learning. Here he carries the survey forward to our own times, confronting directly the challenges of postmodernism and historical narrative. Kelley offers highly original discussions of historians of the last half century (including friends and mentors), the “linguistic turn,” the “end of history,” the philosophy of history, and various new methods of histories.
The book focuses first on the state of the art of history in France, Germany, Britain, and the United States on the eve of World War I. Kelley then traces every important historiographical issue and development historians have encountered in the twentieth century. With the completion of this trilogy, Kelley presents the only comprehensive modern survey of historical writing. He provides an unparalleled portrait of the rich variety of historical method along with an insider’s view of the challenges of capturing history on the written page.

Praise For Frontiers of History: Historical Inquiry in the Twentieth Century

"Frontiers of History is a remarkable feat. It is the crowning achievement of a scholar who has devoted his whole career to the subject and produced a true magnum opus."—Joseph Levine, Syracuse University

— Joseph Levine

"Extremely learned and wide-ranging discussion of a great number of historians divides. . . . It would be unjust to end with anything but praise for the tremendous achievement of this book, which manages to reveal so much about the major trends and developments of history writing during the twentieth century."—Stefan Berger, Journal of Modern History
— Stefan Berger

Yale University Press, 9780300120622, 320pp.

Publication Date: October 18, 2006

About the Author

Donald R. Kelley is James Westfall Thompson Professor of History, Emeritus, Rutgers University, and was editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas from 1985 to 2005. He lives in New Brunswick, NJ.